It’s clear that in years when assessed values declined, tax rates were increased to account for lost home value to increase the tax revenue by the Prop 2 1/2 statutory limit. In most years when home values increased, the tax rate decreased or increased slightly, again to increase tax revenue within the statutory limit. Therefore, tax increases are not based on home values, but rather on the town’s budget requirements as determined by Proposition 2 1/2.
What can we learn from this? First, real estate taxes are not based on your home’s value, as most people think, but on the budget increase allowed by Proposition 2 1/2. Second, your taxes will increase every year as long as the town officials feel they are “entitled” to use the full tax levy. Third, this will not change unless the taxpayers and town officials introduce controls on spending with significant changes in the way the town conducts its business. Fourth, debt exclusions are a problem, but bloated town budgets are a larger problem. During the last 10 years, taxes from debt exclusions (overrides) decrease by 35 percent while taxes due to town operations increased by 50 percent under Proposition 2 1/2 from $5,211 per home to $7,800 per home.
131 Rattlesnake Hill Road