Residential Tax Rate to Go Down

By Meredith McCulloch

exclamation_markThere was good news for Bedford homeowners when the Board of Assessors reported that home valuations are up and the tax rate is going down. On November 17 the Selectmen approved the Assessors’ recommendation to set the FY15 tax rate at $14.62 per $1,000 valuation, down from the rate of $15.71 for FY2014.  An example given by the Assessors showed that a single-family residence revalued at $570,100 would have a tax bill of $8334.86.

Overall valuations of Bedford residential property are up, so each homeowner’s tax bill will vary depending on the new value of their property multiplied by the rate per $1000 valuation.  The average value of a single family home rose by $52,000 last year from $518,200 to $570,000. The rates are based on continuing a 175% shift of the tax burden from residential to commercial/industrial/personal property classification.  Open space valuation continues with a 25% discount.

Revaluations of property are done each year. This year real estate sales were used for valuation of residential property. Every third year a door-to-door onsite valuation is done.

New growth in the personal property valuation was up substantially by $47,359,720. This is primarily equipment and furnishings in commercial and industrial properties. [For local tax purposes personal property is defined in the Massachusetts General Laws as property that is not permanently attached to a building or land. Property in a primary residence is explicitly exempt.]

Associate Assessor Stephen Poulos explained that since there is little new land available in Bedford for building, most residential new growth comes from replacing older, smaller homes with larger, more expensive ones. The new growth leaves Bedford with an excess levy capacity of $2,178,678 within the Proposition 2-1/2 rules.

A homeowner who believes his property has been incorrectly valued may apply for tax abatement at the Assessor’s office in Town Hall during the month of January. See:

There are also several tax exemptions for which people on low incomes, seniors, veterans, etc. may apply. Details are posted on the Town web site at:

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