Assessor’s Tax Presentation Has Good News for Some, Increases for Most

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Watertown City Hall

Watertown Town Hall

Watertown Town Hall

The preliminary report on next year’s property taxes shows an increase of more than 5 percent for homeowners, but a change in the way the commercial rate is figured will result in a smaller increase than expected for some commercial properties.

Town Assessor Francis Golden will be presenting the Fiscal 2017 Property Tax Classification Hearing at the Town Council meeting on at 7:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 9.

If the same residential exemption and Commercial/Industrial and Personal Property (CIP) shift is adopted, the rate will be $13.70 per $1,000 of assessed value. This would result in a bill of $5,336 on the average owner-occupied residential property (worth $547,540), which is an increase of $267 or 5.27 percent.

This includes the 20 percent residential exemption of $1500.26, according to the presentation released by Golden.

For non-owner occupied properties, the bill for the average property would be $7,501, up $419, or 5.92 percent, from this year.

The way commercial taxes are figured for properties will change, and that will make a difference for many smaller property owners.

“There are a huge range in the size of commercial properties and a small number of huge properties skews the numbers if you use the average value,” said Town Auditor Tom Tracy.

This year, Tracy, Golden and Town Treasurer/Collector Joseph DiVito decided to use the median value for commercial properties, which will make a huge difference for some.

The numbers will be quite different from the property tax presentation published last week (see it here). While the rate is the same – 25.34 per $1,000 of assessed value – the numbers in the presentation were calculated using the average commercial property, worth $1.9 million, which would result in a bill of $48,180. This is an increase of $4,334, or 9.88 percent, on that property.

Using the median assessed commercial property, the value drops to $701,250, and the tax bill would be $17,770 – an increase of $229, or 1.31 percent.

While the tax rate looks much lower, the town will still take in the same amount, Tracy said.

“There will be the same amount of revenue, it will be distributed differently,” Tracy said.

4 thoughts on “Assessor’s Tax Presentation Has Good News for Some, Increases for Most

  1. I wasn’t sure which way I was going to vote on 5 but it’s NO all the way after reading this. How about roads & curbs? What about the master plan that we just paid so much to have done? Goals/milestones already NOT being met. Where is all the revenue from the apartment buildings, hotels & commercial development?

    • The answer is that we have not gotten enough from developers of large projects in the way of community benefits and they are getting a very cheap ride to millions, if not billions of profits at the expense of our community.

  2. Can someone explain how Proposition 2 1/2 works?
    I thought tax increases were capped at 2.5% per year? So how is it possible that last year many Watertown two family property tax bills went up $800-$1000. (That’s not 2.5%?)

    1. My understanding is that in Belmont everyone gets a 2.5% tax increase per year. So why are we talking about 5.92% or 9.88% tax increases in Watertown?

    2. What happens to all the new tax revenue from all the new buildings on Pleasant Street and Arsenal St? Doesn’t that create new revenue? So why do we need such large tax increases?

    3. The Watertown Annual Budget is about 125 million per year. Does that include new tax revenue from all the new properties? How much new revenue was created by all the new development?

    4. If the CPA passes will taxes go up for some by:
    5.92% + 2% = 7.92 percent?
    9.88% + 2% = 11.88 percent?

    • The increase also includes the increase in value of properties. Sales prices have been going up sharply in recent years. That was the reason for the big increases in 2 and 3 family homes this year. It looks like it will be higher for single family and condos next year.

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