Tisbury’s annual tax rate classification hearing ended without resolution and will be continued next week after delays at the state level left selectmen unable to set a tax rate for the coming year.

The continuation of the hearing frustrated many in attendance, who had just spent an hour voicing their opinions on the town’s residential exemption policy and the intertwined commercial shift policy. Tisbury is one of 14 towns in the state that uses the residential exemption, which allows year-round residents to subtract a given percentage from their home valuation before calculating property taxes. Until 2011, the exemption increased the tax rate for commercial property owners by shifting a portion of the burden to their bills. Selectmen voted in 2012 and 2013 not to impose the commercial shift. Last year, the residential exemption was reduced from 20 per cent to 18 per cent.

“We’re paying the town’s budget through our real estate taxes, and we’re going to pay that full amount,” selectman and board chairman Jonathan Snyder said during the hearing Tuesday night. “It’s just a question of which group is going to pay more of that amount.”

But because property valuations have not yet received preliminary certifications from the state, selectmen could not vote on the upcoming tax rate. The hearing date had been set with the understanding that certifications would be complete. Selectman Tristan Israel said the hearing usually takes place in November.

“Our state of Massachusetts has been ridiculously late in getting our certifications to us,” he said.

This year is a revaluation year for all six Island towns, Tisbury assistant assessor Ann Marie Cywinksi told the Gazette on Wednesday. This means the process of certification involves more steps and requires that more data be provided to the bureau of local assessment.

“It’s moving, we just submitted final documentation to our field advisor today,” Ms. Cywinski said.

Because the tax rate must be voted on each year, selectmen must in turn weigh in on both policies each year. Both have long been sources of debate, which was once again the case Tuesday night. More than 20 people attended the hearing, with the majority in favor of keeping the exemption. Business owners weighed in on the commercial shift; although many were against it, some said they would support it if the formula created equal tax rates for residential and commercial properties.

Ms. Cywinski presented selectmen with six potential scenarios for the 2015 tax rate. The base tax rate, with no exemption or commercial shift, is expected to be $8.34 per $1,000 of property valuation, a decrease from last year’s rate of $8.39. The average property valuation in Tisbury is $791,914, an increase of nearly $30,000 over last year. There are 2,905 residential parcels in town and 316 commercial properties; 1,034 residential parcels qualify for the exemption.

Tisbury health agent Thomas Pachico said the residential exemption should be returned to 20 per cent.

“I had a second home once upon a time, and I do own some commercial,” Mr. Pachico said. “You’re saving people money who don’t really need it.”

April Levandowski, a town businesswoman who with her husband Michael owns LeRoux at Home, said she often hears complaints about the disproportionate tax rates from second-home owners who visit the store.

“There needs to be a way to sort of even this out,” she said. “You want them to keep coming because they support us, and they have less reason to come if they feel like it’s unfair . . . they can’t vote, but they get taxed.”

County veterans agent Jo Ann Murphy spoke on behalf of the elderly veterans and widows of veterans she works with, saying that the amount of money the residential exemption saved them, however small, was still important.

“You’d be amazed at how low incomes these elderly people are trying to live on,” she said. Senior citizens with low incomes and veterans are also eligible for other reductions in their property taxes.

Tammy King, a loan officer with Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank, pointed out that Tisbury has the highest tax rate on the Island, which is the result of the town being the smallest in terms of land area.

“What I’ve been noticing is that for first-time homeowners, they’re staying away from Vineyard Haven because they can’t afford the tax rate,” she said. She said she often points to the residential exemption as a sales point.

With regard to the commercial shift, business owners said eliminating the policy two years ago had been a positive step for the town.

“I think that what you did by doing that is you recognized the value, finally, of downtown,” said optometrist David Finkelstein.

“As a resident and part of a family business, I think it’s really interesting to recognize what we have in this room,” said Josh Goldstein, whose family owns the Mansion House. Mr. Goldstein pointed to several of his high school classmates who were in attendance to speak in favor of the residential exemption, and said that they, like himself, had all established homes in town.

“We all have jobs here because the businesses are able to provide those jobs,” he said. “Vineyard Haven has to give back to both entities; it needs to support the businesses to maintain the jobs. We need to just keep both sides happy and keep people here.”

“One of the reasons I stayed permanently is that you folks have kept your tax rate reasonable,” said attorney Erik Hammarlund.

Despite the discussion, the actual decision on the town tax rate was postponed.

“It’s rather unseemly to be having this discussion when you can’t resolve this issue when we can’t come back,” said Sherman Goldstein.

Ms. Cywinski said that she had spoken with the state Department of Revenue about the matter, and that voting without preliminary certification of property values could be misinforming taxpayers.

“I want to make sure we’re doing it the correct way,” she said.

The selectmen closed the public comment portion of the hearing and voiced their opinions and their likely votes so that people would not have to return for the continuation of the hearing. Written public comment remains open.

Mr. Israel said he had been opposed to lowering the residential exemption last year, and would “love to see it go to 20, if I can convince you guys. Minimum, I would like to see it stay 18.” He said he also felt that there was no longer a need to have a commercial shift.

Selectman Melinda Loberg said her top priority was a fair tax rate for “every category of taxpayers here.”

“I think that getting to a common tax rate and including the residential exemption in that . . . is, I think, a fair goal to have,” she said, adding that it would require “a real balancing act” to get to that point.

Mr. Snyder said he would opt to keep the residential exemption at 18 per cent.

“I’ve always felt it was a little unfair to tax one group more heavily than another, especially when that group has no voice,” he said. “I recognize that the residential exemption does help working families here. I would support keeping it where it is now.” He said he would not support a commercial shift.

Mr. Israel said he appreciated the variety of viewpoints that had turned out for the hearing.

“Last year we held one of these meetings and nobody was here to talk about it from whatever perspective,” he said.