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The average residential property tax bill is projected to increase by $404 in fiscal 2021 to a total of $5,772.
The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to approve a minimum residential factor that shifts the town’s tax burden from the residential class to the commercial, industrial and personal property classes to the maximum 175% that state law allows.
With a residential tax rate established at $12.34 per $1,000 valuation, the average residential tax bill will go up from $5,368 to $5,772 in fiscal 2021.
Figures provided by the Assessors Department show the average commercial tax bill will increase from $43,482 to $43,728. The commercial tax rate for fiscal 2021 is set at $25.74 per $100,000 valuation.
The value of the average single-family home is forecast to rise from $450,316 in fiscal 2020 to $467,753 in fiscal 2021. The average commercial property’s value in town is slated to fall from $1,732,364 to $1,698,845.
Board of Assessors member David Ricciardelli said the 175% shift to the commercial sector provides residential property owners some relief on tax bills.
Deputy Assessor Michelle Branciforte explained that the average residential taxpayer would get a $6,881 property tax bill if there was no shift to the commercial class. The 175% shift saves $1,109 for the average single-family homeowner, she noted.
Selectman Debra Panetta said the town is fortunate to have a commercial sector that enables residential property owners to have a lower tax bill.
Selectman Jeff Cicolini said the higher tax bills include borrowing costs associated with approval of the Middle-High School project.
Cicolini pointed out the residential tax bills are less than what was projected to the public in advance of the vote on the school project and district-wide master plan solution.
Additionally, Cicolini contrasted Saugus’ average single-family tax bill in fiscal 2020 of $5,368 to communities such as Lynnfield ($9,055), Melrose ($7,015), Reading ($8,748), Stoneham ($6,098) and Wakefield ($7,099).
“I understand nobody likes an increase . . . but our services are second to none and there are obviously a lot of major improvements happening throughout the town,” Cicolini said. “We’re still one of the best deals on the North Shore as far as tax rates and affordability. Yes, it’s an increase, but it’s less of an increase than we had planned for based on projections done when we were going to get the high school/middle school project approved.”