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Somerville Aldermen OK property tax increases

Posted by Travis Andersen  December 11, 2009 11:00 AM

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The Board of Aldermen unanimously approved increases to Somerville's residential and commercial property tax rates on Thursday. The increases take effect at the the end of the month, pending final approval from Mayor Joseph Curtatone.

The board estimates that the average owner of a one-family home will pay an additional $135 in fiscal 2010, and the average two-family owner will cough up an extra $144.

"Not everyone is going to be average," said Acting Chief Assessor Marc Levye, adding that his office recommended shifting the lowest possible burden of the increase onto homeowners allowable under state law.

Somerville's action follows property tax hikes in Boston and Brookline. In Boston, the average bill will increase by $173 in fiscal 2010, and the tax hike will be reflected on bills residents receive this month. In Brookline, property taxes will increase by about $301 for most single family homeowners in Brookline after selectmen set a new tax rate.

In Somerville, the new residential rate will jump to $12.30 per $1,000 of assessed value, up from $11.71. The commercial rate will increase to $20.44 per $1,000 of assessed value, up from $19.25.

Aldermen also approved a 30 percent tax exemption for owner-occupied homes. In addition, they passed exemptions for the elderly, disabled veterans, and the blind, ensuring that these parties will see no tax increases in fiscal 2010, which began in July.

The Board of Assessors projects that the new levies will bring in $96.5 million in revenue during fiscal 2010, a $4 million increase from last year.

The Board expects to grant just over 8,900 residential exemptions this year.

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