The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, December 3, 2010

Tax rate rises to $16.13 after property values drop

Carlisle’s new tax rate of $16.13 per $1,000 of property is 10% higher than last year’s rate, but most residents will see a much smaller increase in their bills, because real estate values have dropped on average 7%. The new rate was announced immediately after the Board of Selectmen voted on November 23 to continue a long-standing uniform tax rate, assessing residential, business and personal property equally. Chair John Williams said that if business properties had been taxed at a higher rate it would not lower homeowners’ tax burden substantially, since 98% of Carlisle’s taxable property is residential.

Town Treasurer and Tax Collector Larry Barton explained that taxes must raise the funds appropriated by Town Meeting last May. As a result of the appropriations, the town must raise an additional $730,000 in taxes. Of this, $233,000 was offset by new growth from housing construction and home improvements. The remaining $496,000 in new spending would have caused a 2.46% rise in taxes, if real estate values had remained constant.

However, the Board of Assessors’ real estate valuations have recently been adjusted downward to reflect the slump in sales caused by the recession. According to Assessor Melissa Stamp, not all properties will see the average 7% drop in value. Homes are classified by several factors, including size, condition, style and neighborhood. “Colonials held their value,” she said, but some of the more modest or more modern homes, such as Deck houses, saw a greater decrease in their value. Williams noted that land prices have remained steady, with a building lot valued at about $450,000.

Carlisle is on a quarterly-tax billing system with a fiscal year that begins July 1. The first two bills after the fiscal year began were based on an estimated tax and may therefore differ from the next two quarterly bills, which will be based on the actual tax rate and new property values. New valuations will show up on the next bill in January. Property owners who disagree with their real estate assessment may file an abatement request within 30 days after receipt of the January tax bill.

The Massachusetts Department of Revenue certified the new tax rate on Monday, November 29. ∆

© 2010 The Carlisle Mosquito