Tonight during the City Council Meeting, the Council has to “Officially” set the Tax Rate.
Guestesimated bills have been issued but they will be adjusted so the real (aka higher) bills go out in the last 2 quarters.
The motion on the Council Agenda reads: Vote – Adopting the Minimum Residential Factor for Fiscal Year 2015. It is accompanied by this letter from Susan Lemay the Chief Assessor.
If I understand things correctly in making the recommendation that the shift stays with the businesses, she cites that the commercial/industrial valuation hasn’t changed much, but the single family and multi-unit residential home values have increased moderately.
That would mean that even without a tax rate increase if they decide your home is worth more today than last year than you will see a monetary increase on your home.
Adding in a tax rate increase will further increase the residential tax bills.
So while we hear over and over and over again about the need to attract business, the Council is smart enough to know that businesses don’t vote so by shifting the already higher rate Commercial Property Owners pay, by property values increasing, they can keep the tax rate lower than the 3.5% increase that was forecasted.
It would not be surprising that even these Councilors who talk and talk and talk about how vital economic development is realize that getting voters/taxpayers to re-elect them is even more important.
By taking this vote they may have a chance to say when running next year, that we only had to raise taxes 2.5% or 3% not the full 3.5% we expected.
Right now Lowell’s Residential Tax Rate is $15.14 and Commercial is $31.75.
What will they be if the council accepts the Assessors recommendation tonight and/ or where should it be to meet the approved June fiscal budget?
I asked the Manager that question but he stated he would address that tonight at the Council meeting , so to find out please watch (If I have to, you should too) and see if REAl Actual Numbers are provided or if they just talk % and vague numbers.
The people deserve to know EXACTLY what the tax rate is going to be, either maintaining the $15.14 posted on the City Website or what the increase will mean and they should be told tonight.