Property Tax Rates to be Discussed by City Council

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The annual Watertown property tax classification hearing and vote will be held by the City Council on Tuesday, Nov. 22, and taxes look likely to rise in Fiscal Year 2023.

City Assessor Earl Smith will present the Tax Classification during the meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. The presentation can be seen by clicking here.

The Watertown Board of Assessors recommends adopting the maximum shift from residential properties to CIP (commercial, industrial and personal) properties, which is 150 percent, according to the presentation. Also, the Board recommends that the Council provide a residential exemption of 33 percent, which would be three percentage points higher than Fiscal Year 2022.

The exemption is available to homeowners whose primary residence is in Watertown, and would provide a tax reduction of $3,614 no matter the assessed price of the home. Homes that do not get the exemption would have higher tax rates than if there was no exemption.

A 33 percent residential exemption would mean an increase in taxes on homes that get the residential exemption between 3 and 6 percent, and increases between $117 and $558 on the annual payments. Single family homes would have the highest percentage increase, with 6.06 percent, while condominiums would have the lowest percentage increase, 3.13 percent.

The assessed prices of Watertown properties increased in 2023. According to the presentation with condos and single family homes rising on average more than 7 percent, two-family homes rising on average by more than 5 percent, and three-family homes rising on average by more than 6 percent. The average assessment of all Watertown residential properties is $802,987, up nearly 6 percent from FY22’s $757,802.

The meeting will be held in the Council Chamber in City Hall, 149 Main St., Watertown, and the public can participate remotely on Zoom. It will also be televised by Watertown Cable. See the agenda and find out how to participate remotely by clicking here.

4 thoughts on “Property Tax Rates to be Discussed by City Council

  1. I did not get to view the council meeting, but I sure hope that our taxes are not going to go up. With the increased revenues from the new residential buildings and businesses that have been built in the last few years, it does not seem that the City should need to charge us more. We are being inconvenienced by these large buildings creating more traffic problems and it appears we may not be benefiting from the taxes from them. I hope the Councilors and City Manager seriously consider maintaining or even lowering our taxes. With all of our other expenses going up due to inflation, no one needs to be hit with more taxes. The water bills just came out and they went up too.

    There are a number, perhaps in the hundreds, of illegal Airbnbs/Short-Term Rentals in Watertown that are allowed to be run. Are these buildings being charged a business rate on their taxes? (They basically are businesses in residential areas.) Are the owners still getting the residential tax deductions because the City has not investigated to see that in some cases the owners are not actually living there; they are renting out the houses basically as hotels. These are the buildings that need to assume higher taxes if they are allowed to continue to operate.

    The owners of these buildings are charging high rental prices and with our City not having rules in place, we are not getting any income from them. If city officials know of these illegal units, fines should be put in place now to discourage them until the decision is made to allow or not allow them.

    These considerations should be part of the new proposed rules that are being discussed by the council committee if these short-term rentals are approved. Hopefully they won’t be allowed as we have a shortage of housing in the Boston metro area and these short-term rentals decrease the availability of permanent housing needed by local residents. We don’t need hotel-like housing in Watertown. We aren’t a tourist area.

  2. Joan I agree with you. Home owners should not have to pay more taxes. We are the ones that have keep Watertown going all these years. These labs that are piping up all over the place are receiving incentives to build or move here to our neighbor. Now Watertown wants to raise our prosperity taxes. Is that Watertown trying to gouge us like all the other business are?

  3. Taxes always go up on everyone because the costs of everything always goes up. It’s a question of the balance between residential and commercial properties. Both pay a share!

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