BURLINGTON – Residential and commercial tax rates will increase after the Select Board approved the tax classification for Fiscal Year 2022 at its meeting this past Monday night.

Under the approved “Option A” tax classification for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22), the residential tax rate is expected to be $9.95 (exact same as FY21), while the rate for commercial, industrial, and private properties (CIP) will be $26.64 (up from $25.85 in FY21). For residents, they will be paying a total of $5,974.98 which includes a $263.67 increase from last year.

The town’s financial team presented the Select Board with the tax classification information of all the taxable property in Burlington. As is the case annually, the Select Board formally opened the tax classification matter as a public hearing.

Town Appraiser/Assistant Assessor James Doherty led the presentation and enforced the fact that these valuations on the tax levy and tax rates were decided last year and went into effect on Jan. 1, 2021. The template used for the fiscal year 2022 budget goals, consisted of the following objectives: The overall blended Operating Budget increase cannot be more than 3.25 percent (3 percent for the town’s budget and 3.5 percent for the school budget); the tax levy (the amount of money raised through property taxes) cannot be greater than 4.99 percent; accommodated accounts (health insurance, trash, special education, etc.) cannot increase by more than 3.25 percent; and the ultimate goal is to maintain services at +/- 10 percent of budget (stabilization, free cash, excess, taxing capacity), avoid layoffs wherever possible; avoid overrides, and avoid user-fees (busing, trash, school athletics).

In terms of growth and economic standing, Burlington remains in a “very good” situation with all the retail capacity at its disposal. The Department of Revenue most recently estimated the total value of Burlington is $7.9 billion (up from $7.6 billion last year)) and the tax levy (the amount of money raised through property taxes) is over $129 million. The tax levy for Fiscal Year 2022 checks in at 4.83 percent. Commercial properties in town account for 62 percent of the tax levy, while residents pay for the remainder.

The $7.9 billion total value figure is split between $4.9 billion (residential properties) and $3.03 billion (commercial properties).

When compared to approximately a dozen surrounding communities, Woburn ($9.33) is the only one with a lower residential tax rate than Burlington ($9.95). The board noted Burlington is the only town in the surrounding area without user fees. Woburn does have such user fees.

The Select Board was very pleased with the tax classification options put in front of them, and even more gracious about the way Doherty and his team are able to present this complex subject to them in a way that most people can understand.

“The preparation and backup materials [Doherty] and staff have been providing for years is the reason why we do not have any questions,” pointed out Select Board Chair James Tigges. “Because we are so informed about all the tax information.”

Select Board member Joseph Morandi, who is a resident and business owner in Burlington, spoke glowingly about the low tax rates that continue to be sustained in town.

“Being a resident and business owner in Burlington, I cannot describe how good this is for all of us. These taxes are not going to scare residents and commercial property owners off. These rates are very reasonable,” encouraged Morandi.

Select Board member Robert Hogan reminded everyone how fortunate a situation Burlington residents are in, with the relatively modest tax rates combined with all the services provided without additional user fees.

“There are a lot of people moving here because of the services provided through our tax rates, which are lower than almost all our surrounding communities,” declared Hogan.

The numbers tell the story of how Burlington continues to thrive. The average value of a single-family home is $600,500 (up from $574,000 in FY21).

The Select Board unanimously approved “Option A” for the FY22 tax classification.

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