, Newburyport, MA

December 6, 2012

4 percent tax hike in store for Rowley

By Michelle Pelletier Marshall

---- — ROWLEY — The tax rate for fiscal 2013 is set to increase 4 percent — from $13.92 to $14.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

The new tax rate for fiscal year 2013 was approved last week during a joint public hearing of the Board of Selectmen and the Board of Assessors. It awaits final approval from the state commissioner of revenue.

Once approved, the rate will go into effect Jan. 1 and property owners will see the new rate reflected in their third-quarter bills, according to the town’s principal assessor, Sean McFadden.

The rate hike means an increase of $154.99 in taxes for a total bill of $5,244.12 for the average single-family home valued at $361,663, McFadden said.

“Properties that have seen increased assessments for 2012 will see their tax bill increase in excess of the average, though many with decreased assessments will see their tax bill decrease,” McFadden said,

McFadden annually reviews all property sales and adjusts assessments to ensure they reflect full and fair cash value.

Assessment values for properties in town were down from last year, though only by 1 percent for residential properties and less than 1 percent for commercial properties. The average single-family home declined almost $4,000 in value, down from $365,598 in fiscal 2012, and the average commercial property declined from $525,841 last year to $521,942 this year.

McFadden said that according to his records, things seemed to be stabilizing.

“I expect that assessments will remain the same or increase for next year, which would help decrease the tax rate,” he said.

McFadden said the increase in the tax rate is due to the rise in the total levy due to Proposition 2 1/2, plus all new growth. Additionally, the decrease in assessments caused the tax rate to rise to ensure the amount needed to cover the increased town budget, which was approved in May at the Annual Town Meeting.

The Board of Assessors recommended, and the Board of Selectmen approved, maintaining a flat, single tax rate for all classes of property in town. This means that residential, commercial and industrial properties will all continue to be taxed at the same rate.

Some communities adopt a split rate, taxing commercial and industrial properties at a higher rate than residential under the presumption that the commercial and industrial properties use more municipal services.