Last fiscal year, Massachusetts voters approved just $15 million in tax increases, the foundation reported.
Homeowners in Essex, where voters approved four overrides between July 2000 and May 2005, have shouldered the highest property tax increase, 43.8 percent, bringing the tax bill for the average single-family house to $7,474 this fiscal year, up from $5,198 in fiscal 2007.
Across the suburbs, the tax bills for some homeowners rose proportionately more than others, depending on the assessed values of their homes.
In some communities, those hardest hit were homeowners on the lower end of the market, including those in starter homes and condominiums, according to an informal survey of area assessors.
In Georgetown, prices for higher-end houses dropped significantly between 2007 and 2008, while assessments for more modest properties declined less dramatically.
“We saw a 10 to 15 percent reduction in value, with higher-end homes dropping considerably more than that,” said Georgetown assessor Jay M. Ferreira. “The market today is reminiscent of ’93, ’94, the last time we saw a big adjustment in values. Things are getting back to normal, more stable.”
The data reviewed does not include information from nine communities — Brookline, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Marlborough, Plainville, Somerville, Waltham, and Watertown — that gave a tax break to homeowners who live in their properties in either fiscal 2007 or 2013, or both. As a result, the data from those communities do not match the information collected from other cities and towns.
Communities across the state typically issue their official tax rates in December, halfway through the fiscal year, so the first two quarterly bills are estimated. The new rates are reflected in the third quarter bill, usually mailed out around the holidays.
That is when phone calls to the assessor’s office increase, as homeowners try to figure out how the new payment amount was calculated.
Most homeowners know their home’s assessed value is based on the sale prices of comparable properties in the area, but they often are unaware that local officials are required to use sales from the previous calendar year to determine a property’s worth. This fiscal year’s assessments reflect where market values stood on Jan. 1, 2012.
Most of the time, a quick explanation is all that is needed to calm a disgruntled homeowner. But sometimes irate taxpayers are not easily assuaged, local officials say.
In Brockton, fed up residents are storming City Hall — more than 200 people showed up at a City Council meeting last month — to protest an increase in the tax rate, and to demand more transparency in local government.
A group of concerned citizens formed Brocktonians for Limited Taxation.
“We can’t let things continue to deteriorate,” said Ford, an active member of the organization.
“We need to change the way City Hall functions,’’ he said. “The only way to do that is to put some new faces on the City Council and in the mayor’s office.”
Brenda J. Buote may be reached at brenda.buote@ gmail.com.