The property tax rate next year for Watertown residents will go up 1.9 percent, resulting in a $77.41 increase for the average property.
The residential property tax rate will be be $14.96 per $1,000 in assessed value in Fiscal 2014. The tax rate would be $15.98 per $1,000 in assessed value, but the Town Council voted a 175 percent shift to Commercial, Industrial and Personal Property (CIP) taxes. The shift means the CIP rate will be $27.69 and the residential rate would be $14.96, said Watertown Town Assessor Francis Golden.
The average home worth $427,057, in which the owner lives, will have a tax bill of $5,111.02, Golden said.
A more realistic number is the rate for the median home value - $410,300, Golden said. The rate would be $4,860.34 for owner-occupied properties – a $72.72 increase. The same property that is rented out will pay $6,138.09 ($114.89 more than 2013), because the Town Council approved a 20 percent residential discount, which applies to residential properties that are the owners’ primary residence.
To make up the difference from the Residential Exemption, non-owner occupied properties will have a higher rate, Golden said.
20 percent vs. 25 percent Exemption
The Council voted 8-1 to give the residential discount. Councilor Angeline Kounelis lobbied to have the residential increase moved up to 25 percent.
“Being an absentee landlord is a business,” Konelis said. “I feel bad for renters but almost all owners are looking for relief. These are hard times.”
The average tax bill for owner occupied properties would go up $26 with a 25 percent Residential exemption compared to $169 with a 20 percent exemption. (This includes an increase in the assessed value of the average home going up $6,216).
The average non-owner-occupied property would go up $446 with a 25 percent exemption and $211 with 20 percent.
Town Council Vice President Steve Corbett said that the burden would fall too hard on renters.
“Higher cost to landlords means they will increase rent,” Corbett said. “A majority of residents of Watertown are renters. They are people too. They are voters. We are not just serving owner occupied residences, we represent everyone.”
The residential discount does not apply to properties with assessed values of $700,000 or more, he said, because the higher rate charged to non-owner occupied properties is not sufficient to make up the difference.
The Fiscal 2014 tax levy limit will be $82.3 million, Golden said.