Preparing for Bedford’s Tax Rate Classification Hearing on November 23

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The average residential property tax bill for  FY21, the current fiscal year, will increase by 4.3 percent, if the Select Board on November 23 decides to retain the town’s long-standing tax classification ratio.

The calculation was defined at Wednesday evening’s meeting of the Board of Assessors, Bedford’s governmental entity that sets the tax rate each year.

Based on the amount of money the town is authorized to raise, the revenue received from all sources, and the total valuation of all taxable property, the residential tax rate was calculated at $13.53 per $1,000 in assessed value.

That is an increase from $13.18 a year earlier, and translates to an annual tax bill of $9,847.13 for a house valued at $727,800, the average this year. That is a 4.3 percent increase from fiscal 2020.

Of course, not everyone will experience the same rate of change. There will be variations depending on property value, style, and location.

The average tax bill for a single-family residence would be $10,171.85, an increase of 4.1 percent.

The Select Board will host its annual hearing on classifying commercial and industrial property at the maximum 175 percent over residential valuation on November 23. This maximum differential has been allowed by the state for many years, and Bedford has endorsed it consistently. The board is expected to approve the reclassification following the hearing.

If Bedford instead adopts a uniform rate for all classes of property for fiscal 2021, it would be $16.98 per $1,000 in assessed value. That would add almost $2,600 to the average residential bill.

Based on the reclassification, the tax rate per $1,000 on assessed commercial and industrial, and personal property would be $29.72. The increase is 2.7 percent for the three categories.

If adopted, the residential share of taxes charged will remain unchanged from last year at 62.7 percent, which surprised board chair Ron Cordes. His colleague Bruce Murphy commented, “If our goal is to hold values stable, then we shouldn’t expect to see a lot of change.”

Total property valuation increased modestly from fiscal 2020 to fiscal 2021. The amount $4,077,763,700 is an increase of about 0.3 percent. The increase in residential value was almost completely offset by a decline in the volatile personal property values. Commercial value dropped by $4 million; industrial grew by more than $14 million.

New growth for last fiscal year totaled $68,529,990, mostly in the residential and commercial sectors. The town’s total fiscal 2021 valuation including new growth is $4,146,293,690.

From one year to the next, according to the calculations, the percentage of residential value to total town value remained at 78.7, which does not reflect classification.

Mike Rosenberg can be reached at mike@thebedfordcitizen.org, or 781-983-1763
Click this link to learn more about The Bedford Citizen’s first community reporter.


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