NEW BEDFORD – The average single-family homeowner will see a savings of $132 in this year’s property tax bill following the City Council’s annual tax classification vote Thursday.
To put that into context, Chief Financial Officer Robert Ekstrom said the last such savings came in the 2012 tax year.
The average single-family homeowner saved 82 cents that year when compared to the 2011 tax year.
One of the reasons for the change, according to assessors, is that single-family homes didn’t increase in assessed value at the same rate as commercial/industrial/personal property.
That’s even though the average single-family home’s value increased by about 15%.
The city uses a split rate rather than a single rate for both residential and commercial/industrial.
The split rate allows the city to shift more of the tax burden to commercial/industrial. The maximum shift allowed to commercial/industrial is 1.75, which the city adopted last year.
Adopting 1.75 again this year would have netted the average single-family homeowner a savings of about $158. The total annual bill would have been $4,277.
The council opted to approve a 1.73 shift, saving the average homeowner $132 on a total annual bill of about $4,302.
Less homeowner savings means more commercial/industrial savings
The lesser savings to homeowners will translate into less taxes for commercial/industrial taxpayers.
According to Assessor figures, the average single-family home is assessed at $356,973. The average commercial and industrial properties for this tax year are assessed at $649,179 and $1,169,519, respectively.
Councilor Ryan Pereira had motioned for a 1.70 shift that would have still netted homeowners a savings but would have put less of a burden on commercial/industrial. That failed to pass.
Councilor Brian Gomes motioned for the 1.75 shift, saying he wanted to help homeowners as much as possible during difficult terms. While commercial/industrial property owners can raise rates to offset increases, homeowners have no such alternatives, he said. But that likewise failed to pass.
Councilor Naomi Carney motioned for the “happy medium” of 1.73, which passed 6-4.