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 2018 (July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018) 3rd and 4th quarter actual tax bill represents property values that were adjusted to reflect sales of property in Georgetown during calendar year 2016 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 September 2017. As a result of higher sale prices the total value of Real and Personal Property rose approximately six percent over last fiscal year with most styles of houses appreciating substantially, 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 2017.
The tax levy spending, which was approved by the 100 or so voters who attended the Spring and Fall Town Meetings, increased by approximately four percent over the previous year to fund almost 60% of the town’s total budget. This tax levy amount 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. = 1-1/2%), plus debt payments for projects approved via ballot by voters which was essentially equal to last year.
As a result of the higher increase to value (6%) versus spending (4%) the net effect of these changes is a 2% decline in the Tax Rate for FY2018 from $16.21/$1000 of value in FY2017 to $15.88/$1000 for this year (2018) 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. 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, “show” it on the map and a link to the Record Card will be on the lower right side of the page. 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 registered voters out of a total of 6200 so your participation is appreciated.
For the Board of Assessors,
David Bogdan, Chmn Arthur “Red” MacDonald Michael Anderson