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Selectmen to Set New Tax Rates

The Board of Selectmen and town finance officials will hold the annual Tax Classification hearing Tuesday night at Town Hall to set the new tax rates in town for homeowners and businesses.

The Board of Selectmen will be deciding the new tax rates in town tonight, taking into consideration a near 7 percent drop in home values while commercial and industrial properties have seen little change.

Danvers, along with several other North Shore communities, uses a split tax rate, which allows the town to tax residents and businesses at different rates. Currently, the residential rate is $12.22 per $1,000 of assessed value while the CIP (commercial, industrial and personal property) is $17.92 per $1,000. That equals a 1.31 percent shift toward easing the overall tax burden off homeowners. The average tax bill for single-family owners is currently $4,572; the average commercial bill is $23,533.

A report from Chief Assessor Marlene Locke earlier this month showed single-family homes were down 6.9 percent, condos 6.6 percent, multi-family homes 6 percent and apartment buildings with four or more units had decreased 1 percent in value while the average CIP stayed at $1.31 million.

The average single-family home is valued is $348,200, down from $374,100, based on sales figures from this past January.

"A decrease in property values does not mean that tax bills will go down," Locke noted in her analysis. Why? The municipal budget, simply put.

The average homeowner's tax bill would only change by a few dollars if the classification percentage stayed at 1.31, but that would mean about a $2,000 increase on businesses to make up the difference in the larger tax levy for Fiscal 2011. The levy rose from $56 million to $58 million from Fiscal 2010 to account for increased spending.

In communities that utilize tax classification, the strategy is often the same – split the tax burden fairly among all players, which often means both sides seeing a corresponding percentage change.

The tax classification hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Toomey Room at .

The report from Locke and the Board of Assessors' is available publicly at Town Hall from the Assessors office or at the town Web site. Open the calendar and click on the link for the "Tax Classification Hearing."

Richard Craig January 06, 2011 at 04:26 PM
disappointed that the town is not more sensitive to the perils that so many homeowners are facing during these economic times ... simply business as usual by (too many???) town officials?

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