This West Street home was recently part of an affordable housing lottery. Courtesy photo.
- Allison Goldsberry
With costs going up on just about everything, from gas to oil to water and sewer bills, the city is trying to help save residents some money by shaving a few dollars off residential property tax bills.
According to City Assessor Edward O’Neil, historically property tax bills increase about $150 per year.
If the state approves the city’s plan to mitigate that increase, the average tax bill could see an increase of only $50-75.
The City Council unanimously approved a home rule petition seeking approval from the state legislature that would hold down fiscal year 2008′s residential property tax increase by raising the property tax on commercial, industrial, and personal properties. The rate increase would be phased out over the next three years.
After a slump, commercial property values have increased over the past couple of years while residential properties have remained flat after skyrocketing. O’Neil said commercial property owners enjoyed somewhat of a tax break while commercial values were down and the city’s plan would recoup some of that lost revenue while providing homeowners with some tax relief.
O’Neil said the plan is geared toward large commercial properties and developments and is not meant to be a burden for small business owners.
“It’s not intended for the mom and pop [business owners],” said O’Neil.
The Council agreed the plan would help save homeowners some money on their property tax bills, even if it’s just little more than $50.
“Any amount of savings is worthwhile,” said Councilor Stephanie Muccini Burke.
The plan is headed to the state legislature for approval and, according to O’Neil, it has the support of Medford’s state delegation.
In the mean time, the city is beginning to prepare the numbers for determining next year’s property tax rate, which will come before the Council sometime in the next few weeks.
Council Asks City to Sweep Streets Again
Council President Robert Maiocco and City Councilor Paul Camuso have asked the Mayor and the Department of Public Works to consider sweeping the streets again because trees have shed their leaves late this year and currently litter the streets. Maiocco said the Mayor is looking into the matter.