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           24 LOWELL STREET, PEABODY, MA 01960

Dear Residents & Taxpayers of Peabody:
As Mayor of the City of Peabody, I am pleased to have this opportunity to provide information
relative to Fiscal 2011 Property Taxes. The Peabody City Council held a Tax Classification
Hearing to adopt the percentage of the local tax levy to be borne by both residents and the busi-
ness community on November 30, 2010. At the hearing we reviewed property values, the im-
pact of classification, the proposed tax levy and tax rates.
As of January 1, 2010, total property values totaled $6.1 Billion Dollars, a decline of $317 Mil-
lion or –5% from the previous year. Residential Values account for 76.4% of our total values
while Commercial Values (CIP) equal 23.6% of our total property valuation. Residential prop-
erty values declined by –4.2% or $203 million dollars from the previous year and the Commer-
cial Tax Base decreased by –7.4% or $114.3 million dollars. Both valuations reflect the decline
in the real estate market as of January 1, 2010.
In June 2010, the City Council based on my recommendation voted to adopt the 2011 Operating
Budget which reflected an increase of 3.2% or $4.4 million more than last year. Increases in
contractual salary obligations, employee benefits costs and a $1.5 million reduction in state aid
accounted for the budget increase. Since 2008, State aid has been cut $4.5 million.
The total amount of money needed to fund the Fiscal 2011 Budget is $143,411,391. Of that,
$86,906,189 or 60.6% will come from Property Taxes; $29.4 Million or 20.5% will be funded by
revenues generated within the City such as excise taxes, water & sewer charges, permits, fees
and investment income; $25.1 Million or 17.5% will come from State Aid and we will use $2.0
million from reserves to offset the increase in property taxes.
Based on our recommended tax levy, the Peabody City Council voted to establish a residential
tax rate of $11.58 per $1,000 of property valuation and a commercial tax rate of $23.14 per
$1,000 of property valuation for businesses based on a Tax Classification Factor of 161%. In
other words, although the commercial tax base represents 23.6% of total property values, with
classification they pay 38.2% of the total taxes in the City of
Peabody.                                                          65% of residential taxpayers
                                                                  will see an increase of less
The average annual tax bill for residents will be $3,308 or $198 than $200.00 in their annual
more than last year based on the average valuation of $285,700 property tax bills for 2011.
while businesses will see a 3.1% increase in their annual tax
bill. The City of Peabody works very hard to maintain a stabi-
lized tax rate while at the same time providing quality services to all members of our commu-
nity and balancing the financial impact of paying for those services with both residents and the
business community.
I hope this informational brochure is helpful to you in understanding your tax bill. For more
information please visit our website and click on Assessor’s Data Base/
GIS to find more detailed property information.
Very Truly Yours,

Michael J. Bonfanti, Mayor

Page 2

                        Assessment Update as of January 1, 2010

         The State requires that the Board of Assessor’s complete a revaluation every 3 years; this
         is called a triennial revaluation. The revaluation took place in Fiscal Year 2010. An in-
         terim adjustment to values happens between the 3 year cycle in response to changes in
         the real estate market. Interim adjustments have occurred annually since FY 2005. The
         ultimate goal is to maintain assessments at “full and fair cash value”. This is done by
         analyzing the real estate market. Fiscal Year 2011 values are based on market activity
         that occurred during calendar year 2009, during which the overall valuation of all the
         City’s residential property decreased by –4.2% and the overall valuation of all commer-
         cial, industrial and personal property decreased by –7.4%.

                Change in Property Valuations by Residential Class

        Residential Values       FY 2010           FY 2011          Change in Value          % Change in
        Single Family          $3,380,282,600      $3,257,597,900       ($122,684,700)           -3.6%

        Condominiums             $486,457,700       $489,416,900              2,959,200           .6%

        2 & 3 Family             $349,312,400       $328,545,700          ($20,766,700)          -5.9%

                              Annual Residential Tax Bills*

                       Annual Tax               Average
      Fiscal Year          Bill   Tax Rate       Values        Real Estate Values peaked in 2007.
         2003            2,413.00    9.45         255,400
                                                               Average residential property values are
        2004-05          2,702.48    8.30         325,600      still $30,300 (12%) higher than in 2003
         2006            2,773.24    7.60         364,900      despite valuation reductions of 10%,
         2007            2,905.34    7.76         374,400      5%, 9.5% and 3.5% over the past 4 years
         2008            2,949.53    8.67         340,200      to reflect decline in the real estate mar-
         2009            3,011.34    9.30         323,800      ket since its peak in 2007.
         2010            3,110.10   10.50         296,200
    .    2011            3,308.41   11.58         285,700

    The average residential value for FY 2011 is $285,700, down from $296,200 in FY 10 or
    $10,500. The average residential property tax bill increased $198. 65% of residential tax-
    payers will see an increase of $200 or less in their annual property tax bills for Fiscal Year
    2011. In 2010 Peabody had the 2nd lowest annual tax bill in Essex County. Peabody has
    consistently had one of the lowest, if not the lowest, residential property tax bills in Essex
    *Average Residential Values based on owner occupied residential properties including
    Single family, 2 –3 families and condominiums.

                                                                                                  Page 3

          Three Major Factors Determine Your Tax Bill

 THE CITY’S BUDGET: As a result of the recommendations adopted by the City Council,
 there is a $4.2 million dollar increase in the property tax levy required to balance the
 FY11 Budget. The property tax levy for FY11 is $86,906,189. The City used $2.0 million
 of reserves to reduce the amount of property taxes levied in Fiscal 2011.
 PROPERTY VALUES: FY 11 values are based on market activity from January 1, 2009
 through December 31, 2009. As a class, residential values declined (-4.2%) from the
 prior year. On a cumulative basis average residential property values have declined
 almost 28.7% since our last triennial valuation.
 values declined less than residential values and their share of property taxes paid by
 commercial taxpayers also decreased from 24.2 to 23.6% while the residential share in-
 creased from 75.8% to 76.4%. The City Council adopted the CIP classification factor of
 161% for FY11 which adjusted the residential share of the tax levy from 76.4% to 61.8%
 and the commercial/industrial share from 23.6% to 38.2%. This classification factor al-
 lows for a split tax rate between residential and commercial/industrial properties. If all
 property in the City had been assessed at a single tax rate, the rate would be
 $14.31/1000 of value instead of $11.58 for residential property and $23.14 for commer-
 cial/industrial property.

                         Frequently Asked Questions

MY HOUSE?                        BY THE CITY AND THE RE-             MENT IN MY HOUSE FOR
                                 SULTING PROPERTY VAL-               AN INSPECTION?
The State requires that the City
establish the full and fair cash UES ARE ACCURATE?                   Interior inspections are an im-
value of all real estate as of     Annually, the Massachusetts       portant part of the City’s as-
January 1 of each year. To de-     Department of Revenue (DOR)       sessment process. Just as a
termine FY11 values, the As-       performs a statistical analysis   potential buyer of real estate
sessing Department reviewed        of the City’s property values.    inspects the interior of a home
all valid sales that occurred      Additionally, every three         before making an offer, the
between January 1, 2009 and        years the DOR conducts a          City can make a better deter-
December 31, 2009. A com-          comprehensive analysis of the     mination of value based upon
puter model is used to calcu-      City’s appraisal system and       accurate data using interior
late property values based on      reviews property values to en-    inspections. Often the results
this market activity as well as    sure that they represent full     of the inspection can be bene-
certain property-specific at-      and fair market values. In        ficial to the taxpayer by cor-
tributes such as location, size,   FY07, the City’s assessing        recting data. Examples of data
type and condition.                model was certified by the        reviewed include: dwelling
                                   DOR after a rigorous review as    type, condition, land area, size
                                   part of its triennial analysis.   of the structure, number of
                                   The next revaluation is sched-    bathrooms and fireplaces, and
                                   uled for 2013.

                                                                                           Page 4

whether attics and basements         issued and mailed to taxpay-       I AM A NEW OWNER. WILL
are finished or unfinished. The     ers during the months of July,      MY TAX BILL BE SENT TO
City completed a door to door       October, January and April of       ME?
inspection for Fiscal Year 2004.    each year. Payment of these
                                                                        Not necessarily. The assess-
This is not due to occur again      bills is due August 1st, No-
                                                                        ment date is January 1, 2009.
for several years.                  vember 1st, February 1st and
                                                                        The property is legally as-
                                    May 1st or 30 days from the
WHY CAN’T THE CITY JUST                                                 sessed and billed to the
                                    date of the bill whichever is
LOWER PROPERTY VALUES                                                   owner as of January 1. We
                                    later. If you do not receive a
IN ORDER TO REDUCE TAX                                                  make every effort to get new
                                    tax bill, please contact the
BILLS?                                                                  owner address changes into
                                    City’s Tax Collectors Depart-
                                                                        our system as we are notified
State law requires the City to      ment via telephone at 978-
                                                                        by the Registry of Deeds. If
assess property at full and fair    538-5748 to request one.
                                                                        you do not receive a bill con-
market value as of January 1
                                    WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF I               tact the Collectors Depart-
each year. However, lower
                                    DO NOT PAY MY REAL ES-              ment via telephone at 978-
property values do not neces-
                                    TATE TAX BILL BY THE                538-5748 and request a dupli-
sarily result in lower tax bills.
                                    BILL DUE DATE?                      cate bill. You are responsible
Since a fixed amount of reve-
                                                                        for paying the bill whether
nue must be raised each year        If your real estate tax bill is
                                                                        you receive it or not.
through property taxes in order     not paid in full by the bill due
to fund the budget, lower over-     date, interest will immedi-         MY MAILING ADDRESS
all property values would result    ately begin accruing on your        HAS CHANGED. HOW DO I
in a higher tax rate.               real estate tax bill at a rate of   NOTIFY THE CITY SO
                                    14%, and according to Mas-          THAT MY TAX BILL IS
                                    sachusetts State Law, interest      SENT TO THE CORRECT
                                    will accrue back to the date of     ADDRESS?
You may file an application for     issue.
                                                                        The City’s Assessing Depart-
abatement with the Assessors
                                    I LIVE ON A LIMITED IN-             ment requires that a mailing
                                    COME. WHAT OPTIONS                  address change be made in
Abatement applications are          ARE AVAILABLE TO RE-                writing. You may mail this to
due on or before the first actual   DUCE MY TAXES?                      the City Assessing Depart-
bill due date, generally by                                             ment at 24 Lowell Street, Pea-
                                    Unfortunately, regardless of
February 1st each year. You                                             body or Fax it to 978-538-
                                    age or income, all property
may obtain an application by                                            5983.
                                    owners must pay taxes. If you
calling the Assessing Depart-
                                    or your spouse is age 65 or         IS TAX BILL INFORMA-
ment at 978-538-5716, or by
                                    older, with limited income          TION    AVAILABLE
downloading the form from
                                    and or assets, you may qual-        ONLINE?
the      City’s    website:
                                    ify for a tax exemption. Ex- The                                                 Yes. You may pay your real
                                    emptions also are available
Assessing Abatement Applica-                                            estate tax, motor excise tax
                                    for disabled veterans, and the
tion form is available under                                            and water sewer bills online
                                    legally blind. Deferral of
“City Departments, Assessor’s                                           at
                                    taxes may also be an option,
Office.”                                                                Click Pay Bills Online. You
                                    depending on your age and
                                                                        may also access the Asses-
WHEN SHOULD I EXPECT                income. You may also contact
                                                                        sors Database, GIS and Map
TO RECEIVE MY REAL ES-              the Assessors Office at 978-
                                                                        information on the City web-
TATE TAX BILL?                      538-5716 to discuss your
Real estate tax bills are issued    situation.
quarterly. Bills are typically


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