Board of Assessors Sees Minuscule Tax Increase for Bedford Residences in FY22

The moving pieces are almost all in place for a fiscal 2022 residential tax rate increase of only five cents per $1,000 in assessed valuation.

Monday evening, the Select Board is scheduled to host its annual hearing on whether commercial and industrial property should be taxed at 175 percent of the residential rate.

If the classifications are approved by the board, and final calculations endorsed by the state Department of Revenue, the mathematics will be lined up for a tax rate increase from last year’s $13.53 to $13.58 for residences.

The commercial and industrial rate would increase from $29.72 to $29.93 per $1,000 valuation.

The Board of Assessors is responsible for calculating the tax rate, basically by signing off on state-mandated documents. The Select Board’s role is to approve the tax classification.

What does this mean for residential taxpayers? The impact depends on the value of the property. If, hypothetically, a $500,000 house does not change at all, the impact of the rate increase will be $25 per year. Values are fluid from one year to the next.

Monday the assessors are scheduled to present their calculations at the Select Board’s virtual meeting. Besides the projected tax rate changes, other highlights they expect to present are:

  • The “average” single-family house value in Bedford last year was $751,800, for a real estate tax bill of $10,171.85. This year’s average value is $774,100, for a tax increase of $340. But the “average” is skewed by the preponderance of high-end new construction. There are plenty of houses assessed in the $500,000s and $600,000s, but hardly anyone is building more.
  • Residential property comprises 78.4 percent of the town’s total value. But when the classifications are figured into the equation, homes pay 62.3 percent of the property taxes. Commercial, industrial, and personal property pay three-eighths of the taxes but represent 21.6 percent of the value.
  • The total value of all taxable real and personal property is $4,296,639,000. New residential growth over the past year is valued at $23,174,800. New commercial and industrial growth has a total value of less than $5 million.
  • Personal property is the most volatile of all categories. The value of personal property from year to year dropped by almost 16 percent, but new personal property was valued at more than $24 million.

“Personal property is probably the most arcane form of tax,” explained Bruce Murphy, chair of the Board of Assessors. “Personal property is essentially anything that’s used in the business,” such as office or laboratory equipment – if it’s not attached to the building. Personal property is volatile because most of the inventory has a much shorter lifespan than buildings do, he pointed out.

Mike Rosenberg can be reached at mike@thebedfordcitizen.org, or 781-983-1763

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