It's tax-rate-setting season, and property taxes are going up in Newton -- and almost every city and town in the state. The difference is that Newton has emerged as a community in which assessed property values for single-family homes -- used to calculate the tax rate, along with the total amount of money to be raised -- did not drop from the last fiscal year to this one.
The new residential property tax rate in Newton is $9.96 per $1,000 of assessed value, up from $9.70 in fiscal year 2008. The assessed value for a median single-family home rose slightly from FY08 to FY09, from $690,800 to $695,400, according to the city's assessing department. The annual tax bill for that median home this year will be $6,926, an increase of $226, before adding in the additional 1 percent ($69) for the Community Preservation Act, which sets aside money for affordable housing, historic preservation, open space, and recreation land.
"Things are pretty stable in Newton," said Elizabeth Dromey, head of Newton's Department of Assessment Administration, of year-to-year home values in the city and nearby communities. "In some of the suburbs close to Boston, you'll see there was either no change or it had either a minor decrease or a minor increase in value."
Property assessments for a fiscal year -- which runs July 1 to June 30 -- are designed to reflect market values on the previous Jan. 1. That means FY09 assessments reflect Jan. 1, 2008 values and are primarily calculated using sales figures from the 2007 calendar year.
-- Eric Moskowitz