EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

November 26, 2012

Decision on tax classification gets postponed

NORTH ANDOVER – It will be another two or three weeks before town residents know exactly how much they’ll be paying in property tax.

Selectmen were scheduled to make their annual decision on tax classification last night, but the vote had to be postponed because the state requires that at least five days must pass after the town’s taxable properties are revalued before a new tax rate can be set.

North Andover’s revaluation was completed just recently, Chief Assessor Garrett Boles explained. Selectmen Chairman William Gordon said the board will act on the question in the next two to three weeks.

The town now has two tax rates: $13.92 per $1,000 of valuation for residential properties and $19.16 per $1,000 for businesses. Last year, the selectmen approved a shift between the residential and business rates of 1.31, meaning that a business pays 131 percent of the tax it would be charged if the town had a single rate.

Selectman Rosemary Connelly Smedile said the board would prefer that any change in rates be the same for businesses and homeowners.

The total value of residential properties increased by about 5 percent during the last year, while businesses had a slight decrease in value, Boles said. He estimated the value of all homes at $3,713,216,144, while business properties are worth $555,383,123.

Ever since North Andover adopted tax classification, the shifts have varied, going as low as 1.18. Should the selectmen keep the shift at 1.31, the average homeowner’s tax bill will rise by $3, while the average business’ bill will drop $72, according to Boles’ numbers.

The rates would be $13.73 per $1,000 for homes and $18.86 for businesses.

While the selectmen couldn’t render a decision on the tax rates last night, they went ahead with the hearing. Only one person spoke, Wilfred Carpenter, vice president of sales and service for the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce.

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