WILMINGTON — The fiscal 2021 tax classification hearing took place last Monday night during the Board of Selectmen’s meeting. Principal Assessor Karen Rassias of the Board of Assessors explained for the board that their vote would determine the percentage of the tax levy to be paid between residential, commercial, industrial, and personal property in town.
The recommendation that she shared from the Board of Assessors was a classification of 1.75 percent.
“This adoption allows the town to assess and collect an equitable amount in taxes,” Rassias said.
The proposed shift, she continued, would change residential from paying over 75 percent of the levy to only 59 percent, increasing industrial’s portion from 17 percent to 29 percent. She also said this would increase residential tax by an average of $144 and commercial tax by an average of almost $4,000.
The next lowest shift that the Board of Selecmen could choose, 1.70 percent, would increase the commercial tax rate by about $2,018 and the residential tax rate by $286. Shifting to 1.60 percent would raise residential tax by an average of $560. However, this would decrease the commercial rate by about $1,000.
A 1.50 percent shift would lower the commercial rate by $5,000 and raise residential by an average of $800. Rassias added that these numbers reflect averages, so folks will see value changes that may be lower or higher.
She reported this year’s proposed shift is more conservative than in years past.
“These are the lowest tax increases that we’ve seen since 2012,” she said.
She also referenced data showing that home values have increased by 42 percent since that same year. Rassias said that she expects this to raise Wilmington’s ranking in terms of the lowest residential taxes in the commonwealth. Last year, Wilmington fell 48 out of 77.
Selectman Jomarie O’Mahony asked if there was a ranking for the Commonwealth by lowest commercial taxes, but Rassias could only say that Wilmington’s is rather high compared to other towns. She said the Department of Revenue only provides that information on the residential rate and that it’s hard to measure the average tax rate for commercial properties.
She did mention that commercial tax doesn’t seem to be a deterrent from new business coming to town.
O’Mahony said, “It’s not lost on me that that’s difficult for small business owners.”
Greg Bendel asked Rassias to provide the same information the board has been provided with in the past regarding the different tax rates.
Sharing his support for the maximum proposed shift, Kevin Caira said, “Whatever relief we can give to the residents, I think we should do it.”
The board noted their appreciation for this presentation and unanimously voted in favor of the 1.75 percent classification.