In an effort to foster a better understanding of how your tax bills are calculated and the relationship between property values vs. the tax levy we respectfully submit the following.
The Fiscal Year 2023 (July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023) 3rd and 4th quarter actual tax bills issued in December 2022 represent property values that were adjusted to reflect sales of property in Georgetown during calendar year 2021 and in certain cases the prior and subsequent 6 months. As annually required by law these property values were adjusted, submitted to and certified by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue in October 2022. As a result of higher sale prices the total value of Real and Personal Property rose approximately 11 percent over last fiscal year with many styles and locations of properties appreciating substantially more, although at differing rates. These 3rd and 4th quarter (actual) bills also reflect the full change in value over last year which was not included in the 1st and 2nd quarter (prelim) bills issued in June 2022.
The tax levy spending portion of the $34.5M total budget which was approved by the 200 or so voters who attended the Annual Town Meeting in June, increased by approximately 2.5% over the previous year to fund almost 60% of the town’s total budget. This tax levy amount of $23.5M includes the prior year’s levy limit, plus the allowed 2-1/2% limited increase over last year, plus previously untaxed property (new construction etc.), plus previously approved debt exclusions.
As a result of the increase to spending (+3.5%) versus value (+11%) the net effect of these changes is an 8% reduction in the Tax Rate for FY2023 from $14.08/$1000 of value to $12.98/$1000 for this year (2023) which is used to calculate your share of the cost of Education, Public Safety, Public Works, Regulatory and Administrative Services to the town. Importantly, because these costs typically rise each year your share will likely increase annually as well independent of property values which only affect the tax rate.
It is worth reiterating that the values of differing property types and styles do not necessarily change at the same rate or in the same time frame. Certain properties may have a static value while others may increase or decrease significantly within a given analysis and adjustment period as determined by actual property sales. Dramatic increases in sale prices have had a substantial effect on property values. The aforementioned percentages are aggregate changes and do not necessarily reflect the specific percentage changes to your property value. For your convenience, your Property Record Card can now be accessed directly from the Assessor’s Web Page on the town website (https://www.georgetownma.gov/assessors-office ). Select the MIMap application from the left menu, “search” for your property in the upper right corner, “click” on the Assessment Data results on the left of your screen and a link to the Property Record Card will appear in the lower portion of the window. These record cards are typically updated in December after our tax rate has been approved by the Department of Revenue.
As always, we respectfully request your cooperation during the property inspections we are required to perform in order to maintain an accurate property inventory. We also strongly encourage voters to attend Town Meetings where they alone have ultimate authority over how tax dollars are spent. We typically struggle to get a Town Meeting quorum of 100 of the 6200 registered voters so your participation is both encouraged and appreciated.
Respectfully, Thomas Berube
For the Board of Assessors,
David Bogdan, Chmn Arthur “Red” MacDonald Michael Anderson