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Reading’s Tax Rate Recalculated Upward

High school debt mistakenly omitted from previous rate.

Like a car’s GPS that tells you to adjust your route if you miss a turn, the town’s appraiser has recalculated the property tax rate in Reading, and it’s -- up.

The correct rate is $14.94 per thousand of a property’s value, not $14.39 per thousand, according to Chief Appraiser Victor Santaniello.

That means the average tax bill for a single-family house valued at $432,000, the town average, will go up $169, to $6,459. That’s an increase of 2.68 percent over the current average of $6,290.

The average commercial tax bill will rise by $406, to $22,527.That’s an increase of 1.84 percent from the current average of $22,121.

Santaniello, the town’s new chief appraiser who shares appraising duties almost equally between Reading and Wakefield, underestimated the total tax levy. He mistakenly omitted debt on the high school construction project, Town Manager Peter Hechenbleikner told the selectmen Tuesday night.

“It was my oversight,” Santaniello emailed Patch, “assuming that the debt exclusion number was already in the total tax levy.”

New Town Accountant Sharon Angstrom, who started work here this summer, caught the error, Hechenbleikner said.

Santaniello has also been working with the town’s Board of Assessors, he wrote, to resolve some longstanding cases that had been pending before the state’s Appellate Tax Board.

As a result of that work, “We have settled about a dozen cases while working to be proactive with some of our biggest taxpayers and developers,” according to Fred McGrane, chairman of the Reading Board of Assessors.

joan December 06, 2012 at 12:31 PM
isn't there a Prop 2 1/2 law in reading? meaning no ability to raise taxes more than 2 1/2%
Trisha December 06, 2012 at 12:54 PM
Yes. The 2 1/2 Percent law pertains to the Levy and is statewide. The levy can not go up more than 2 1/2 percent plus new growth.
Rob December 06, 2012 at 01:46 PM
I tried fighting my taxes once, asking the assessor about prop 2 1/2 and he started laughing at me. My comment on this prior article seems even more appropriate now: http://reading-northreading.patch.com/articles/reading-selectmen-retain-single-tax-rate-for-residential-and-commercial-property
Rokkar December 06, 2012 at 01:49 PM
The residents of North Reading shouldn't be paying anything even close to 14.98% in taxes let alone allow it to INCREASE?!?!?!?. My taxes alone in this town pay for a part time salary. I suggest the town takes a seriouis look at what they can cut and refrain from any and all tax increases.
bigguy December 06, 2012 at 03:02 PM
What a surprise it's up.... What a joke. People can't make ends meet and taxes are going up. No accountability is a shame. The entire reason we have oversight committees is to catch things like this. If we all ran our house budgets like this we would all be sitting by camp fire singing peace songs. I feel real bad for the future of our great country.
Mary w December 06, 2012 at 03:06 PM
So ... Taxes are going up $169 -- give or take -- because of an honest mistake. Understood. The expansion and updating of the library that is on the drawing board is also going to increase our taxes approximately $100 -- give or take. Seems my wallet is giving and the town taking a considerable amount of money above and beyond the Prop 2 1/2 allowance that always happens. Every time a special interest group wants to push through a project, I.e., town building project, we hear "it is affordable; just forego the cost of a weekly cup of coffee or a trip to McDonalds or ...". Hmmm! Looks like I will have to find something else to cut out of my budget to cover this new double whammy. How about My weekly pizza night. It just occurred to me, every time I cut back it means I cut out something that helps keep a local business in operation.
Rob December 06, 2012 at 03:23 PM
And keep in mind that the law doesn't require that the town raise taxes because if this mistake. It just means they can.
Ron Powell December 06, 2012 at 03:23 PM
The levy can not go up more than 2 1/2 percent plus new growth ... and, as Sharon Angstrom pointed out to the Town, debt exclusion.
bigguy December 06, 2012 at 03:42 PM
An average is defined by the median. It's probably more like $180 per hh. Merry xmas to all and to all a good night. To all the democrats in town,please check the box the next time you want to pay more in taxes.
bigguy December 06, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Mary we already have a meal tax for the restaurants.don't give them any more ideas.
Joe Veno December 06, 2012 at 06:16 PM
@ Rokkar. Are you talking about Reading or North Reading. and where do you get the 14.98% figure?
Mary w December 06, 2012 at 07:08 PM
No ideas intended. My intention was that folks in this town think that Readingittes by the mere fact that we live here that we are ALL made of money. When a tax increase is suggest, we are told that it is easy to afford that we should just cut back on the Starbucks coffee or the drive thru. I have already done that for the prior tax increases so what's next my Friday night pizza tradition? My point was that to continue to afford funding expansions and upgrades of town buildings my local businesses, who depend on all of us to support them, are taking a hit because there is only so much money in my wallet. Discretionary funds -- gift shopping, dining out, pet grooming etc will be were I will have to cut back. This is a no win situation for everyone except the contractors that get the work. How many of them live in this town.
bigguy December 06, 2012 at 07:11 PM
Mary, I am agreeing with you. I was making a funny, get it??
Dave Miskinis December 06, 2012 at 07:31 PM
What does Karl have to say about this?
Dave Miskinis December 06, 2012 at 07:34 PM
It is not very comforting to me that the town’s new chief appraiser made an error. Please stop "assuming" with our property values. PLEASE!!!!!!
Thomas J. Ryan December 08, 2012 at 02:30 AM
I hope you're not setting the tax rate. 'Average' and 'median' are not the same. tobus
Fred Willard December 08, 2012 at 12:51 PM
keep voting for the overrides... the gift that keeps giving.....

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