First the good news: Belmont is a place lots of people want to live.
And that popularity has translated to where even "in this bad economy," property values of homes in the "Town of Homes" increased in the past year, said Robert Reardon, chairman of the to the Belmont Monday, Dec. 5.
"Location, location, location," explained Richard Simmons, the town's assessing administrator to Selectman Angelo Firenze who expressed surprise that total assessed values in town jumped by a total of $123 million as most US communities have seen prices plummet.
Now the bad news; you'll have to dig a bit deeper to have the privledge of living here as the Selectmen approved the Assessors' recommendation to increase the property tax rate from the current $13.24 to $13.35 for fiscal 2012.
According to Reardon, the total assessed value of all property – residential, commerical, industrial and personal – rose between fiscal 2011 and 2012 from $5.111 billion to $5.234 billion.
In addition, the rate was allowed to be increased due to an increase in the property tax levy, said Reardon. The property tax levy is the revenue a community can raise through real and personal property taxes which goes to paying for everything in town government.
The actual tax levy increased from $67.7 million in fiscal '11 to $69.9 million in '12 with $1.6 million coming from the annual 2.5 percent increase allowed by the state and the addition of $516,000 in new growth around town.
"When we find it, we tax it," said Reardon about new taxable property.
The assessors decided not to create a separate tax rate for commercial property due in large part to the small amount of non-residential property in town – the total value of commercial, industrial and personal property only makes up just more than six percent of taxable valuation.
Reardon said that even if the town could tax non-residential property at the $20.02 per $1,000 maximum allowed, it would only drop the residential property tax bill about 43 cents to $12.92.