The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, May 5, 2000


Impact of override questions on the tax rate

As last week's article on the tax rate pointed out, estimates of next year's tax bills based on spending decisions made in the spring are speculative, because many of the numbers that raise or lower the tax rate are unknown until the fall. Thus, town officials have declined to provide estimates of the tax rate increases for each of the override questions on the ballot for the May 9 election.

To provide voters with some idea of how these proposals could affect their tax bills, the Mosquito has estimated what the FY01 tax rate would be if there were no change in property values in FY00. Since the board of assessors will be changing the assessed value of nearly every property in town for the next tax year, the taxes an individual homeowner will pay may vary dramatically from this year, due to those changes in the property valuation.

The Mosquito's calculations show the estimated increases in the tax rate for the no­override budget and for each override question, based on the FinCom's assumptions in estimating revenues and new growth for the next fiscal year. The Mosquito's figures show how much the total tax bill for a typical home would change, based on this year's mean assessed value for a single-family home in Carlisle of about $392,000.

The no-override budget

The budget within the levy limit recommended by the FinCom (the "no-override" budget) would increase town spending for operating expenses and debt payments for projects already approved by $700,459, resulting in a total increase of $.704 (to $18.50 per $1,000 in valuation), or $273.16 for a $392,000 home.

Question 1: The $222,487 requested for operating expenses would raise the tax rate by about $.33, or $129.59 for a $392,000 home.

Question 2: The $20,000 capital exclusion requested for affordable housing will appear on the ballot but will be meaningless because the associated Warrant article was not approved.

Question 3: The $20,000 capital exclusion requested for the O'Rourke Farm water study would raise the tax rate by about $.03, or $11.65 for a $392,000 home.

Question 4: The town has not estimated the first-year borrowing costs to acquire the roll-off truck, since actual payments depend on decisions about the timing and the term of borrowing, which officials have not yet discussed. Based on the stated $100,000 purchase price and 5 percent annual interest, the Mosquito estimates the first payment on a possible 5-year loan at about $25,000. This amount would raise the tax rate by about $.037, or $17.77 for a $392,000 home.

The FY01 total budget increase, including all overrides, would be $967,946. Given all the assumptions noted above, if there were no change in property values next year beyond the routine increases due to new growth, the total tax rate resulting from the budget within the levy limit plus all overrides would be about $18.90, or an increase of about 6.2 percent over the FY00 tax rate of $17.80. The resulting total increase in the tax bill for a $392,000 home would be $431.96.

2000 The Carlisle Mosquito