November 27 2017

Selectmen Set FY18 Tax Rates for Residents and Businesses


The Burlington Board of Selectmen set the FY18 tax rate during its meeting on Monday evening.

The board held its annual Tax Classification Hearing and set the residential and C.I.P. (commercial, industrial, personal property) property tax rates for the following year.

Burlington has a split tax rate, meaning that residents pay one amount and commercial, industrial and personal property owners, effectively meaning businesses in town, pay another rate. The big decision for the board is how to split the tax burden between residents and businesses.

Board members had a variety of options to choose from, presented by Town Appraiser James Doherty, Town Treasurer Brian Curtin and Town Accountant Paul Sagarino.

The first major factor is setting the tax rates is to hit necessary tax levy to keep services, pay town employees and make payments on debt, among other expenses. This amount normally goes up each year. In FY17 the tax levy was $102,863,548. The levy the board set this week for FY18 is $106,921,270. This represents a 3.94 percent increase.


Sagarino said this amount, thanks to Burlington’s strong economic standing, was roughly $10 million below the tax levy limit allowed under the Proposition 2 ½ law.


The next consideration was the split tax rate and how much of the burden to put on the residents and how much on commercial properties. When deciding on how to set the split between the residential and commercial tax rates, the board weighs its desire to keep the residential rate low so as not to burden residents but also does not want to raise the commercial rate so much that it would slow economic growth.


In the option chosen by the board businesses will pay 61.8 percent of the levy share and residents will pay 38.15 percent.


So what does this mean for residents? The residential rate will is increasing by 2.33 percent. This means that the average resident will see an increase in their property taxes of 136.94 in FY18, an increase of 2.78 percent. Residents will pay $10.62 for every $1,000 of assessed value of their property. This is actually lower than the $11.06  for every $1,000 of assessed value.


So why did the average tax bill increase? Because the overall value of the residential sector increased over the last year.


Curtin said the rate is still below all surrounding communities with the exception of Woburn.  


“It’s remarkable how fortunate we are in Burlington to have a tax rate this low, he said. “It says a lot about what’s happening here.”


Board Chairman Chris Hartling said he thought the option was the right choice among those presented because it was close to keeping the split between the residential burden and the commercial burden steady.


“The way percentages were assigned allowed us to keep the 60-40 split in terms of what the commercial sector pays versus what the residential sector pays,” he said.


Vice Chair Joe Morandi, who is both a resident and a business owner, said he thought the decision was fair.


“I think the balance is very good, I think that it shows the town considers the business side as well as the residential side,” he said. “ If they go up too much on the businesses the landlords will have to charge their tenants more and price them right out of town.”


Web Design by Polar Design