HAVERHILL — The owner of the average home will see their property tax bill jump by $175 in the coming year.
This week the City Council held its annual tax hearing, which considered public comment, followed by a vote to decide on how the city’s tax burden — $115 million to be raised in total — will be shared between homes and businesses.
The new residential rate of $12.75 per $1,000 in valuation is lower than last year’s rate of $13.44, however, homeowners will pay more because the value of residential properties has increased.
Under the new rates, the average commercial property owner will pay $176 more. The new commercial rate is $23.35 compared to last year’s rate of $24.66 per $1,000 in valuation. Owners of commercial properties will pay more because the value of those properties has increased as well.
City Assessor Christine Webb said both the residential and commercial rates must still be approved by the state Department of Revenue, which is expected to happen the first week of December.
Haverhill uses the state’s tax classification law when setting the rates. That law allows communities to give homeowners a break by setting a residential rate that is lower than the rate charged to businesses. A tax rate is the amount of money a property owner pays per $1,000 worth of property.
Mayor James Fiorentini said that with costs going up every day, he felt the city needed to hold down increases for its residents and had hoped to temper the increases using surplus money.
“Everywhere I go people are concerned about inflation, about rising gas prices and food prices,” he said. “I spoke with some councilors prior to the meeting and urged them to use some of our budget surplus to reduce the burden on residential taxpayers. There was not an appetite among a majority of the council to do that. While I respect their opinion, I respectfully disagree.”
He said there is good news in that the overall average single family residential tax bill is still the second lowest in Essex County.
“I will keep trying and will make a further effort next year to keep our tax rate at a reasonable level so that our city and our tax rate remain affordable,” he said.
With little debate, the council voted 8-0 (one absent) Tuesday night to adopt a tax classification rate of 1.65, meaning businesses will be taxed at a rate that is 65% higher than they would be if the rate was the same for homes and businesses. The previous year’s classification rate was also 1.65.
The new rates that were approved by the council, the average total tax bill for a single family home will be $4,966, an increase of $175 over the last fiscal year, while the bill for the average business will be $16,521, an increase of $176 over last year.
Webb said the average single-family home in Haverhill for the current Fiscal Year 2022 is valued at $389,474. The average single-family home was valued at $356,446 last year.
Homeowners can expect to see the increase in their next quarterly property tax bills, which they should receive the first week of January. Those bills will reflect the new tax rate and the new property valuations, according to the city assessor’s office.
Because the city shifted more of the tax burden to the business community, the average commercial property assessed at $707,550 will see a tax increase of $176 — with its annual bill going from $16,346 to $16,521.
The new property valuations will also be published on the city assessor’s website sometime in January.
The council voted against proposals for a small commercial exemption, a residential exemption and an open space discount.
Industrial values have decreased this year, mainly due to a reduction in the number of those properties as a result of changes in use with several of them switching to commercial and to mixed-use residential.
The value of the average industrial property in the city went from $1,086,57 to $1,046,307 this year. Webb said that although there are fewer industrial properties this year, the city expects to see an increase in industrial properties when several large companies open in the Broadway Business Park.