Whether Council Shifts Tax Burden, Homeowners Likely to See Bills Increase

Haverhill City Council President John A. Michitson.

City Council President John Michitson will lead the tax classification hearing Tuesday night.

The average Haverhill single-family residential property owner would see a $154 property increase if the City Council does nothing to change the way residential and commercial property owners share the city’s overall tax burden.

But even if the council shifts more burden to the commercial and industrial base, homeowners will likely see an increase, although a smaller one, thanks to the increase in residential property values in the past year.

The council Tuesday is scheduled to determine the city’s residential and commercial property tax rates during the annual ritual known as the tax classification hearing. That’s when the council decides how heavily it will tax commercial properties in comparison to residential.

Based on sales and market conditions at the end of 2015, single-family home values increased 5.9 percent compared with the previous tax year and commercial property values increased at a lower, 2.3 percent, according to City Assessor Stephen C. Gullo. The city needs to raise $96.2 million to cover the budget for the year. At the current tax classification factor, that would mean the tax bill for the average single-family homeowner in the fiscal year started July 1 would rise to $4,079, up from $3,925, based on a $271,600 median valuation. The average commercial property tax would fall by $67, to $6,486, on a median value of $247,000.

The council would have the option to approve a higher classification factor to soften the residential tax burden and shift a greater share to business owners. For example, shift from the current factor of 157 to 160 would increase average commercial property taxes by up to $207 and a smaller tax increase, by $121, for an average single-family homeowner.

In other property categories, tax bills for multifamily homes at the current split would rise as much as $208 in reflecting an 8.2 percent valuation increase. Meanwhile, industrial properties had the smallest valuation increase at 1.6 percent. Those tax bills could drop by as much as $310 if the council makes no change.

The residential property tax rate is $15.36 per $1,000 valuation and the commercial tax rate is $27.01 per thousand. Under the new levy, with increased valuations, tax rates at 157 factor would be $15.02 and $26.26 respectively. At 160 factor, for example, rates would be set at $14.93 residential and $26.77 commercial. In Haverhill, residential properties make up 84.8 percent of all assessed properties this year.

The Haverhill City Council meets at 7 p.m., Tuesday, in Theodore A. Pelosi Jr. Council Chambers at Haverhill City Hall.


6 thoughts on “Whether Council Shifts Tax Burden, Homeowners Likely to See Bills Increase

  1. The added note to this for all Haverhill tax payers is not only will your property taxes go up, but remember the recent news story concerning a FIFTY PERCENT INCREASE IN WATER RATES COMING.

    It’s time to wake up you bozos who keep voting for these people.

  2. I would suggest that the Mayor and City Council should sharpen their pencils with respect to the City Budget, to eliminate the fat in the budget, and spend OUR money more wisely.

    For example, the Haverhill Police Department spends too much time and effort chasing around the juvenile runaways that result from the upwards of 30 group homes in Haverhill. Since the owners of these homes make money on these homes, the owners should be responsible for investigating why these young people are running away from these homes and should be required to spend their own time and money chasing down these runaways instead of charging the overly burdened tax payer for these services. We already pay for these homes with our state taxes… Now we should have to pay for local police to chase these people down, and hire more police to do the job?

    • A more appropriate question would be to look into the rise in home price in light of plummeting home ownership in Massachusetts. The initial data shows that high-end home price sales is skewing the lower end, and Haverhill isn’t exactly “high end”. We already know the assessment process is bullshit (at least for my home), but Mayor Jimmy & Co. need to keep pace with the 5-year (2011-2015) 12% property tax increases. Of note, via Mayor Jimmy (I asked him), the city has not had a cessation on property tax increases since the 1950’s. But hey, I’m sure your services will improve as well as your kids education…Right?

      • Agreed Duncan, and there is the issue – the assessment process is 100% unadulterated BS. This Mayor will continue to send out his email “asking” for your input (pssst..he really doesn’t want it) – your taxes, fees, and all or anything else will continue to rise.

        This is a Mayor who believes Hillary Clinton had the right policies for our country – enough said.

        What Haverhill absolutely needs, and has needed for years is a complete independent audit of all city finances as a basis to move forward on anything – the city is indeed a mess.

        • The last thing the Mayor wants is an audit. Lepage fond some hidden money already and the Mayor knows where a lot more is hiding. But, let’s please remember where the biggest chunk goes …… school budget. That’s the area that really needs to be looked at.
          Hey we all want great schools for kids. But at what cost ? What has it gotten us ? Sadly question 2 failed and therefore the endless money pit continues. The people must have a serious discussion as this issue will soon become unsustaiinable along with pension obligations…….Very soon.