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Montague Tax rate going up about $130

MONTAGUE — The average single family homeowner can expect to pay about $130 more this year in property taxes.

According to figures from the assessors’ office, the tax rate increased 6.7 percent from last year in the residential class and 6.8 percent in the other categories.

Director of Assessing Barbara Miller said the increase is driven by decreasing property values and greater demand for local taxes.

Overall values are down $21,533,415, or 2.9 percent, and the tax levy is up $475,572.

The town has adopted the same split rate as last year, pushing 8.34 percent of the levy burden from the residential to the commercial, industrial and personal property class.

The Board of Selectmen this week adopted the residential tax factor at the amount recommended by the Board of Assessors.

The result is a tax rate of $17.04 per $1,000 of residential assessed value, $25.52 in the commercial, industrial and personal property class, approved Thursday by the state Department of Revenue.

A change in the state time line for property value certification meant less money than there might have been from the FirstLight Power Resources hydroelectric operation this year.

A special town meeting last year gave assessors the authority to extend the three-year deal with the utility to a fourth year.

Miller said the deal had included a million dollar increase in valuation each year of the deal, and she had asked for that increase to hold. FirstLight pushed for an $11 million reduction and the two eventually settled on a reduction to the original assessed value, a $2 million rollback in value that nevertheless results in a $71,000 tax increase when combined with new growth.

Miller said the assessors could have charged the higher figure but FirstLight would likely have won in tax court, with the attendant court costs.

New growth, a source of tax dollars not limited by the 2.5 percent levy cap, is down overall.

Miller said the town saw $6,389,614 in new growth this year, for a tax gain of $143,351, which she said is down slightly from last year as last year’s numbers were down from the previous year.

You can reach Chris Curtis at:
ccurtis@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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