MELROSE — While the aldermen plan to discuss property tax issues Monday night, it seems safe to say your taxes will be going up this year.
During the annual tax classification hearing with the assessors this week, the aldermen were given plenty of information to ponder. They scheduled a special meeting for December 8 at 8 p.m., during which they will set a certain numerical factor that determines the percentage tax levy burden borne by single family homeowners and commercial property owners. The numerical factor the aldermen decide also determines the tax rate for both classes of property owners for the coming year.
Historically, the alderman have chosen a factor between 1.39 and 1.43. In that range for fiscal year 2015, the “average” single family homeowner would pay anywhere from $161 to $174 more in taxes, while commercial property owners would see an increase of between $98 and nearly $400 for the next year.
The “average” single family home in Melrose is assessed at $428,146, up from $405,370 in fiscal year 2014. In FY’14, the average residential property tax bill was $5,383, based on a tax rate of $13.28 for every $1,000 of assessed value.
According to data supplied to the aldermen by the assessors, a factor of 1.39 would bring the residential tax rate to $12.98 per $1,000 and increase the average annual residential bill to $5,557.34 in fiscal year 2015, an increase of $174 over the current bill. At 1.41 the rate would be $12.97, at 1.42 the rate would be $12.96 and at 1.43 the rate would be $12.95 per $1,000.
The average commercial property in Melrose is assessed for fiscal year 2015 at $552,018. A factor of 1.39 would bring the commercial tax rate to $18.50 per $1,000 of assessed value and would increase the average commercial tax bill to $10,212, a boost of about $98. A shift of 1.41 would bring a commercial tax rate of $18.77, at 1.42 it would be $18.90 and at 1.43 the commercial rate would be $19.04, bringing with it a $10,510 average commercial tax bill, and increase of $396.
The current commercial tax rate is $18.51 per $1,000 of assessed value.
The city is at a disadvantage when compared to surrounding communities because just about all of its taxable property is residential. There are no huge office parks here like there are in Wakefield and certainly not the commercial property available to tax like there is in Saugus. Those communities can afford to shift more and more of the tax levy burden onto commercial and industrial property owners.