Homeowners to see slight increase in FY18 tax bills

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An average Canton homeowner’s tax bill will increase by just $2 from fiscal year 2017 to FY 2018.

That was one of the key takeaways from the latest tax rate adjustments recommended by the town’s assessors and approved by the Board of Selectmen Tuesday night. The residential tax rate will come down 37 cents from $12.79 to $12.42 per thousand valuation and the commercial tax rate will fall 48 cents from $26.34 to $25.86 per thousand valuation.

The approved tax rates are retroactive to July 1 and will be reflected in the tax bills for the third and fourth quarters of the current fiscal year. The town sent out estimated tax bills for the first two quarters of FY18.

Rocco Digirolamo, Board of Assessors chairman, reported to selectmen that the average single family assessment is $519,203, a 3 percent increase from last year. The average condo assessment is $278,581, a 4.5 increase from last year. Digirolamo expects the average condo tax bill will increase by $55 in the next fiscal year.

Digirolamo also reported the commercial and industrial assessments rose an average of 11 percent over last year, reflecting a reduction in vacancies and an increase in sales prices.

He said the new growth for Canton this year is well over $1.3 million and the town has increased in value over $250 million. Overall, the total taxable valuation for the town is over $4.7 billion. The largest personal property taxpayer is Eversource at $1,701,725 per year and the largest real estate taxpayer is Reebok at $1,512,424 annually.

The next revaluation of property is scheduled for FY 2021.

The other major financial news from Tuesday’s meeting concerned a potential worst-case budget deficit scenario of $478,000 in the Fire Department. The deficit is caused by overtime costs resulting from six short- and long-term line of duty injuries.

Fire Chief Charles Doody alerted selectmen to the budget deficit. He said it may be less severe if the six firefighters return in the coming months but also noted that he cannot predict future injuries. As of now, one firefighter is expected to return in December, another in January, and four others in the late spring.

Doody said after conferring with Finance Director Jim Murgia, the two options for the town would be to seek a reserve fund transfer at the May town meeting or to shut down one of the department’s two ambulances. Doody said he prefers to operate both ambulances because of the high volume of service calls as well as the revenue that is generated from ambulance billing …

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