EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


November 16, 2013

Taxes set to jump

Hikes of $127 for average home, $240 for business expected

HAVERHILL — For the first time in five years, single-family homes, condominiums and apartment buildings increased in value over the previous year.

How that will impact this year’s tax bills will be decided Tuesday night, when the City Council sets new tax rates for residential, commercial and industrial property at Haverhill’s annual tax classification hearing.

The hearing and council vote will determine the difference between what homeowners and business owners pay. The hearing is at 7 p.m. in City Hall.

Haverhill has historically taxed businesses at the highest rates allowed by law, in order to give homeowners the biggest break possible on their bills.

If the council adopts the same tax program as it did a year ago, taxes for the owner of the average residential property will increase by $127 in the coming year, while the jump for the average business will be $240.

Residential properties include single-family homes, apartment buildings and condominiums.

The bill for the average single-family home will increase by $131 if the council adopts the same tax program. During the past year, taxes increased $57 for the average single-family home and $953 for the average business.

The average single-family home’s value increased this year from $244,700 to $245,586 — the first year-over-year increase in five years, City Assessor Stephen Gullo said. The new values are based on an analysis of recent real estate sales, Gullo said.

The owner of the average industrial property can expect to see an annual tax bill increase of $963, from $23,319 to $24,282, Gullo said.

Mayor James Fiorentini is recommending the council adopt the current tax factor of 1.5 or go even higher. A factor of 1.5 means businesses would continue to be taxed at a rate 50 percent higher than they would be if the rate was the same for business and residential property. A factor higher than 1.5 means businesses would pay an even larger portion of the city’s total taxes. The council can set the factor as high as 1.75 this year, Gullo said.

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