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Property Values on the Rise, Selectmen to Vote on Next Year's Taxes

Chief Assessor walked the Board of Selectmen through the town's rising property values, and possible rises in property taxes.

Brookline's property value is heading up, and that could have an effect on your property taxes. The Board of Selectmen are still looking at the issue, and will not take a vote until the yearly hearing on tax classifications, slated for next week: Dec. 6. 

Chief Assessor Gary McCabe presented his findings for the fiscal year 2012 findings at the Board of Selectmen's meeting last night. According to McCabe's work, the town's value stands at over $15.26 billion, a 2.26 percent increase from last year.

How that shift will translate to the various taxable categories in town has yet to be determined. McCabe presented the Board with a range of options for how to apply the shift in commercial, industrial and personal (CIP) property tax and residential levies. Placing the burden of changes mostly onto residential levies could increase them by 1.24 percent, and placing it primarily in the CIP category could increase that by 1.03 percent. 

These taxes account for about 69% of the town's budget. In fiscal year 2011, the tax rate levied was $11.30 per $1,000 of assessed value on residential properties, and $18.30 on commercial ones. In the scenarios presented by McCabe, shifting the burden to residential taxes could increase the residential rate to $11.44, decreasing the CIP rate to $18.23. On the other hand, putting it to the CIP would increase both, bringing the residential rate to $11.38, and setting the CIP rate at $18.76. 

Selectmen Chair Betsy DeWitt explained, after the meeting, that the goal is to find a way to share the change tax burden equally. It may not always be possible, she noted, as taxes can be very difficult to control.

No vote has yet been cast on changes in taxes, discussion, and a possible vote, are scheduled for next week. While the Board mulls their decisions, they have some feedback from local merchants to bear in mind:

"In the last year, we have seen economic challenges." Said Brookline Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Harry Robinson, "We think that any increase in tax rate is the exact wrong message to send. We urge that you leave the tax rate at its current level."

Robinson noted that he was speaking for both the Chamber and the Coolidge Corner Merchant's Association.

He added, "Keeping a slight bit of relief in place extends a message of welcoming in the town."

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