METHUEN — The average single-family homeowner will pay $136 more in property taxes under the tax plan approved last night by the City Council. The average commercial property owner will pay $268 more.
Councilors voted 5-4 to adjust the operating budget and approve the tax rates proposed by Mayor Stephen Zanni. In June, when councilors passed the budget, Zanni anticipated an average residential tax hike of $100.
The approved plan pulls $255,000 in free cash to cover operating expenses. But councilors last night chose against raiding the stabilization fund to defray the tax increases.
The first bills to reflect new tax rates will be mailed Jan. 1. The average single-family homeowner in Methuen will now pay $3,802 annually in property taxes. The $136 hike means taxes have gone up a collective $433 over the last three years for the owner of a home valued at $255,624 — the average value under the city’s latest property assessments.
The average commercial property owner will now pay $9,648 in annual property taxes — up from $9,380.
Under the new rates, the city will tax $14.85 for every $1,000 of assessed value on residential properties, up from $14.40. Commercial property owners will be taxed $24.81 per $1,000 of value, up from $24.12.
In all, 84 percent of Methuen’s tax base comes from residential properties.
Voting against the budget adjustments and tax rates were Councilors Jennifer Kannan, Michael Condon, Ron Marsan and Jeanne Pappalardo. Marsan and Pappalardo have pledged not to raise property taxes.
“I am still getting calls,” said Pappalardo. “The citizens are fed up with high taxes being raised every single solitary year.”
Kannan said she supported the use of the stabilization fund to defray the impact on taxpayers.
“It’s there for us to use,” said Kannan. “This will protect the taxpayers. ... If we can soften the blow, I’m for it.”
A $200,000 transfer from the stabilization fund into the operating budget would have reduced the average annual residential tax increase from $136 to $125. Similarly, a $400,000 transfer would have decreased the average tax hike to $114.