EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 14, 2012

Pelham tax rate is up significantly

New fire station, school projects cause for hike

By John Toole jtoole@eagletribune.com
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — PELHAM – The tax rate is up nearly $3, or 14 percent.

The state Department of Revenue Administration has set the rate at $24.40 per $1,000 of property valuation. That is up $2.99 from the 2011 rate of $21.41.

That means the owner of a home valued at $250,000 will pay $757.50 more in taxes.

The town portion of the tax rate is $7.49, up $1.11 The school portion is $13.26, up $1.89.

The county portion is $1.16, unchanged from last year. The statewide education tax portion is $2.49, which is down 1 cent.

The new fire station and school renovations, approved by voters at Town Meeting in March, are key factors in the tax increase.

Officials had put information about the potential tax impact before voters during deliberative sessions last winter.

Selectmen’s Chairman William McDevitt said he personally didn’t get any calls, but town offices did when the tax bills came out. He said that’s usually the case when bills go up.

“I don’t enjoy high tax bills anymore than the next person,” McDevitt said.

A clerk explained to one woman who called that bills went up as a result of votes at Town Meeting, he said.

Her response, “I don’t know anybody that goes to Town Meeting.”

McDevitt said the town just had turnout of about 80 percent of voters for the presidential election, but usually sees only about 30 percent for Town Meeting.

“It just cries out for people to get involved in these decisions, none of which are easy,” he said.

After voters approved most warrant articles last spring, selectmen agreed to use fund balances to limit the increase and asked department heads to closely watch spending.

Tax rates from nearby towns include $23.05 in Windham, $20.58 in Salem and $20.50 in Londonderry.