The average homeowner in town will now pay more than $10,000 in the coming year in real estate taxes.

The Select Board voted unanimously this week to retain the "shift" of 157.5% for commercial and industrial properties. This means that businesses will be charged 157.5% of the amount they would pay if all properties in the town were taxed at the same rate.

Homeowners will pay 86.9% of what they would be charged if the town did not classify properties for taxation purposes.

Andover charges one tax rate for homes and a higher rate for businesses. The new tax rate for homeowners will be $15.01 per $1,000 of valuation. The old rate was $15.27.

Businesses will now be taxed at $27.14 per $1,000. The rate approved last year was $27.51. Chief Assessor David Billard pointed out that the values of all properties in town have increased, resulting in higher tax bills despite lower tax rates.

The total value of taxable properties in town – residential, commercial and industrial – rose from $8.3 million last year to nearly $8.8 million in 2019, a 5.74% increase, Billard said.

The average annual tax bill for homes will rise from $9,973 to $10,223, according to figures provided by Billard. The increase is about 2.5%.

The average tax bill for commercial properties will rise by about 2.4%, from $60,475 to $61,954, according to Billard. The average tax bill for industrial properties will climb from $122,851 to $128,981, a 2.8% increase, Billard said.

It did not take long for the five Select Board members to act on the tax rate at Monday night's meeting. Selectman Alex Vispoli noted that the board traditionally supports a "shift" that results in equal percentage increases in the three classes of properties.

Selectman Ann Gilbert agreed.

The board declined to approve exemptions for open space, residences and small businesses.

Billard said selectmen could have approved an exemption of up to 25% of the value for open space. So far, no community has adopted this, he said.

The board also could have allowed an exemption of up to 35% of the value of each resident's home. This would shift more of the tax burden from lower-value to higher-value properties, Billard said. Sixteen of Massachusetts' 351 communities have accepted this measure, he said.

Yet another option would have permitted the board to approve an exemption of 10% of the value of commercial property owners with 10 or fewer employees and an assessed value of less than $1 million. Sixteen Bay State communities have adopted this approach to help small businesses, Billard said.

The board unanimously approved Vispoli's motions to reject those options.

During the last 10 years, the average yearly real estate tax increase has been 3.5%, according to Billard.


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