Watertown, MA Property Tax Increase!

Real Estate Agent with Fitkova Realty Group

Hello all and Watertown residents.  How will this increase in property taxes affect your Real Estate holdings - be it industrial, commercial, or residential?  Sometimes I wonder what we are indeed getting with all these tax increases.  I know that prices have been rising, but at the same time many budget cuts have been happening within our town.

I can say after attending the last Watertown town council meeting that there are some great improvements being done to our school system so perhaps that is a key reason for the tax increases.  I hope this increase in taxes will not have any effect on buyers choices to buy in our town.  When we look at our town compared to others in the area we still have a better tax rate.  Overall I think this slight increase in taxes shouldn't affect our town too much, and it is just a general part of life that prices rise.  We certinaly have a seen a nice overall rise in home prices over the last decade in Watertown.

Check out this great article written in the Watertown Tab for more detailed information on the property tax increase.



The average residential taxpayer can expect to see an average increase of $93 in his or her upcoming tax bills.

On Tuesday, Town Councilors set the fiscal 2011 tax rate with a vote of 7-1. A tax shift, or the rate to be shifted from residential onto commercial and industrial properties, was approved at 175 percent, which is a formula the town has adopted since 2002.

The residential exemption - a state-specific discount for owner-occupied properties - was set at 20 percent of the average residential property assessment.

The residential tax rate will be $13.92 per $1,000 of assessed value, while the commercial and industrial rate will be $25.88.

The average residential assessment for fiscal 2011 is $407,408, and the commercial property assessment has been has been averaged around $1,667,835.

Vice-President Stephen Corbett was absent from the vote. Councilor Angie Kounelis was the only opposing vote against the hike, and said that taxpayers are constantly concerned with the annual increase.

"How much can they afford to pay when so many people have lost their jobs and are on the verge of losing their homes," she said. "Any amount of tax increase is certainly a burden. In today's society I don't think the rental market can bear too much more and I think the rental owner would absorb that increase."

But Town Assessor Francis Golden said the average tax increase for residents is less than it was a year ago, which was more than $100.

"You could put the burden more on the non-owner occupied residences if you choose to," Golden said. "I think it's a decision of whether or not you want to impact the rental community that way. Once the residential exemption becomes a part of your tax levy, it's difficult to go back. Our board felt the increases were less than they were a year ago and that's why we recommended that."

The average tax bill for owner-occupied residential properties will rise about $93, or 2.10 percent, in fiscal 2011 to $4,537. For those not eligible for the 20 percent exemption, the average tax bill will be $5,671.

There are 6,292 properties that qualify for the exemption in Watertown. The residential tax exemption discount is voted on each year by the Town Council and can range from 1 percent to 30 percent of the average residential property assessment.

For commercial properties, the average tax bill will increase to around $43,164, which is a 1.25 percent increase from fiscal 2010.

Driscoll said the third quarter tax bill will be mailed before the end of December and payment is due on Feb. 1. The fourth quarter tax bill will be sent out before the end of March and payments will be due on May 1.

The council also approved optional tax exemptions for qualified surviving spouses or seniors over the age of 70; qualified disabled veterans and their qualified surviving spouses; disabled veterans; blind persons; and qualified seniors over the age of 65.


What gets the residential exemption?

Type                   Total    Number exempt        Percentage

Single-family     2,899                  2,458                           84.8

Condos              3,244                  2,072                           63.9

Two-family         2,841                  1,575                           55.4

Three-family      398                      147                             36.9

Apartments        132                      11                               8.3

Source: Assessor's Office

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Christian R. Heide - Real Estate Agent
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