The tax rate for two-family homes jumped up this year, and that resulted in a larger than normal number of tax abatement requests to the Town Assessor’s office.
When the tax rates were set in November 2015, the rates for single family homes dropped 4.85 percent, the rate for two- and three-family homes went up 8.43 percent. Councilor Angeline Kounelis had previously expressed her concern about the large increase in tax rates for two-families and requested information on the abatement requests.
Town Assessor Francis Golden said his officer received 61 abatement requests for two-family homes and 56 were approved.
The average abatement was $56,229 off the original assessed value, with a couple properties being abated over $100,000, according to Golden’s report.
The town was re-evaluated in 2016, and a representative from the Department of Revenue joined Watertown representatives on a tour of the town to look at the neighborhood grades, conditions and boundaries, Golden explained in a letter to the Town Council.
One reason for the rates on two-families going up is the increasing prices, Golden said in November. When the values go up, the whole category rises.
In his letter, Golden said, the reason many were reduced is because the interiors had not been inspected for years. When the abatement requests were made, Golden personally inspected the properties.
“Those inspections resulted in a number of abatements solely for interior conditions,” Golden wrote. “The reason for the number of interior abatement condition abatements was because the Assessor’s office had not previously been previously allowed into property for many years.”
Of the 61 properties that requested abatements, only 17 allowed entry during the re-evaluation in 2010, and 32 had not allowed entry in 10 years and 21 had not allowed anyone from the Assessor’s office in this century, Golden said.