Wednesday night, the Board of Finance set the tax rate for the 2012-13 Fiscal Year at 19.77 mills, an increase of .98 mills from the current year’s rate of 18.79 mills.
The new tax rate will take effect in the July tax bills. The tax rate of 19.77 mills means that a person with a property assessed at $100,000 will pay $1,977 in taxes, a $98 increase from a tax rate at 18.79 mills on the same piece of property.
The tax rate reflected the increase needed after the Representative Town Meeting – a 6 percent increase from this year’s $74.3 million total. Residents can still demand a referendum on specific lines items in the budget by May 24th if they acquire and submit 635 signatures, according to information from Finance Director Rudie Beers and Town Clerk Bob Nye.
Lower Collection Rate
For the first time in years, the Board of Finance set the expected tax collection rate at 98.9 percent, lower than the usual total of 99.1 percent. The reason was because less and less people have been able to pay their taxes, a symptom of a poor economy, according to Tax Collector Mark Burnham.
Right now, the town is on pace to collect just under 99 percent of all taxes due for the fiscal year, Burnham said. Before 2008, the town would easily collect over 99.1 percent of taxes, but since then the number has been around 99 percent, he said.
"It is a symptom of the economy,” Burnham said. “People are struggling.”
The Board of Finance did expect a higher return of last year’s taxes, as there are more outstanding tax bills to collect. If the Board of Finance would have set the expected collectable tax rate at 99.1 percent, the tax rate for the upcoming year would have been 18.75 mills.