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Merrimack Valley

December 3, 2012

Council OKs $163 average tax increase

METHUEN — The average residential tax bill will increase $163 next year while the average business owner will pay an additional $365, under a tax rate plan approved last night by the City Council.

The first bills to reflect the new rates will be mailed Jan. 1. The average single-family homeowner can expect to pay $3,666 annually and the average commercial property owner $9,326.

The tax rates cover the fiscal year that began July 1 and ends June 30. They were approved by a 7-2 vote, with councilors Jeanne Pappalardo and Ron Marsan voting in the minority.

The tax increases come a year after the average homeowner’s taxes rose $134.

The city will now tax $14.42 for every $1,000 of assessed value on residential properties. That’s up from $13.04 last year, when the average single-family home in Methuen was assessed at $268,677.

The average assessed value of a single-family home is now $254,170, representing a year-to-year drop of nearly $15,000. The average homeowner paid $3,503 in property taxes last year.

The $163 increase is just below the $165 hike Mayor Stephen Zanni predicted earlier this year, after councilors approved a $138.8 million operating budget. Under the new rates, City Auditor Tom Kelly said the city remains $3,822,350 below its property tax levy limit.

Methuen will charge commercial properties owners $23.98 per $1,000 in assessed value. The previous commercial rate was $23.04. The average commercial property owner last year paid $8,960. The average commercial property remains valued at $388,900.

Residents and business owners were invited to speak at a public hearing held before last night’s vote, but Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce President Joe Bevilacqua was the only participant.

Bevilacqua urged councilors to reduce the tax burden on Methuen businesses. He said many of them are family-owned and were hit hard by the recent recession.

“They’re still recovering,” said Bevilacqua. “It’s important to recognize that businesses are an important and vital part of your community.”

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