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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.

Dave Foye November 22, 2011 at 01:35 PM
I'm really disappointed. I don't know what I would do if I was on a fixed income in Swampscott. Can't complain too loud, because I didn't go to the meetings, but I won't miss the next one.
Gizmo November 22, 2011 at 01:38 PM
The people of Swampscott need to stop this. By getting out to vote! The last turnout was sad. If you don't vote - Don't whine.
Tom November 22, 2011 at 02:23 PM
Selectman Barry Greenfield is spot on that this trend can not continue but there also needs to be action, not just words.
Whisky November 22, 2011 at 02:25 PM
Please explain how taxes can go up 8% under Prop 2 1/2 ?
Dones1968 November 22, 2011 at 05:58 PM
The article mentions Prop 2/12 but does not do a good job explaining how an 8% increase this year is allowed. I understand we got a break last year, but even assuming a 0% increase last year, I would think this year's increase would have to be capped at 5%. Barry is right that this is unsustainable. The residential tax rate has risen by 60% since 2005 (from $11.29 to $17.99). If this rate if increase continues, we'll be looking at a rate of $29 in another 6 years (or an avg tax bill of $14k).
Dave Foye November 22, 2011 at 06:16 PM
In round figures, this should raise $3 million. Earlier this month, Mr. Maylor presented a report that said we were only about $500 thousand short! I admit I don't have all the figures, but that seems like a huge gap.
george depaolo November 22, 2011 at 08:17 PM
Oh well, Just keep looking at the front yards around town, the For Sale Signs sum it up. The average person is being out-priced to live in this town.....its really to bad.
tony November 22, 2011 at 10:30 PM
I don't think I've ever missed an election vote in town.However,I can count the number of canidates[not including townwide elections]that I've had win on one hand.Geomaj hits the nail on the head when he says the voting turnout is dismal. The same people from the same party keep getting sent back over and over and we wonder how we got here.It's pretty sad.
brian November 23, 2011 at 12:59 PM
Didn't Mr. Maylor praise the finances of the town last budget when he recommended and the selectman approved the additional new hires and other expenses? The way they were talking and everyone was patting themselves on the back,it sounded like the Town was fically sound. Why would they increase expenditures, when knowing that they would need to raise taxes? Now when setting the tax rate the sky is falling again.
Gizmo November 23, 2011 at 03:14 PM
I'd like an ansewer to this question also.
Gizmo November 23, 2011 at 03:15 PM
Sad but true. And it has crossed my mind also.

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