UPDATED: Average Home's Tax Increases Almost $500
Town officials say the spike arrived because a break the town received last year on its debt exclusion was a one-time event.
Selectmen approved the 2011-12 tax rate on Monday and kept the property tax-rate burden at 175 percent for businesses and 100 percent for residences.
The fiscal 2012 rate is $17.99 per $1,000 property valuation for residential properties, and $33.41 per $1,000 property valuation for commercial properties.
The residential rate rose about 8 percent over the 2011 rate of $16.60 per $1,000 property valuation.
When factoring decreased home values the real tax increase was about 6 percent, the town administrator said.
The owner of an average-priced, single-family home will see a $494 increase in taxes.
Last year's gain for taxpayers was offset by this year's loss, Town Administrator Andrew Maylor said.
Last year the town realized savings associated with the financing of the high school project, he said.
The town enjoyed a one-time savings of about $1 million on its debt exclusion — payment on bonded projects — due to a restructuring arrangement with the state.
This debt payment holiday masked what would have been about a $250 increase in taxes from the levy last year, the town administrator said.
The town ended up with a minimal increase in taxes last year as a result of the restructuring, he said.
This year the $1 million debt exclusion holiday went away.
So the town was responsible for both the typical increase to the tax levy allowed under Proposition 21/2, and it was on the hook for bond financing payments, the administrator said.
So instead of having a tax increase of $250 last year, and a tax increase of $250 this year, the town is paying the entire $500 this year, he said.
The grim tax news prompted board member Barry Greenfield to say the trend can not continue.
He said the town would either have to raise additional revenue or cut expenses.
Earlier in Monday's meeting representatives of the Board of Assessors recommended keeping the residential rate at 100 percent and the commercial rate at 175 percent.
The Fiscal 2011 rate was $16.60 per $1,000 property valuation; and the business tax rate was $30.80.
In 2010 the tax rate was $16.48 per $1,000 property valuation for residences and $30.58 per $1,000 valuation for commercial property.
In 2009 the residential rate was $14.43 for residences and the commercial rate was $26.63.
And in 2008, the residential rate was $13.63 and the commercial rate was $25.21.