Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


November 21, 2013

Tax bills set to climb

New split rate will mean hikes across town

Don’t get too comfortable with your property tax bill — it’s about to go up.

For residents, that means they could be shelling out between $354 and $365 — or 4.4 to 4.6 percent — more in property taxes next year.

The Board of Selectmen is expected to set the town’s 2014 tax rate for residential and commercial/industrial property at its next regular meeting, scheduled for Monday, Dec. 2.

Traditionally, the town has taxed commercial property at a higher rate than residential property. Next year will likely be no different. However, taxes are still increasing across the board for everyone.

Chief Assessor Dave Billard presented several options at Monday night’s Board of Selectmen’s meeting during the first reading of the tax classification vote.

Under tax classification, cities and towns are allowed to shift more of the property tax burden to commercial/industrial property owners by charging them at a higher rate than residential property owners. Under the so-called tax classification shift, commercial property owners can be charged up to 50 percent more on their tax rates than residential property owners, which would be expressed as a 150 shift.

The idea behind the tax classification law is to give homeowners a break at the expense of business owners, who are considered by some to be better able to afford higher bills.

Under one scenario proposed by Billard, using a tax shift of 147, residential taxes would see a 4.6 percent jump of around $365 — from $7,967 last year to $8,332 for the average single-family home, valued at $549,622.

Commercial taxes would be up 3.9 percent, from $48,291 to $50,171, for the average $1.98 million property. Industrial taxes would jump 6.3 percent, from $84,565 last year to $89,862, for the average $3.5 million industrial property.

In the case of a 147 shift, the residential property tax rate would be $15.16 per $1,000 of assessed value while the commercial-industrial rate would be $25.34 per $1,000.

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