Construction hasn’t yet begun on the new Wilmington High School, but the financial impact of the project will be seen for the first time in 2013.
During Monday’s Board of Selectmen meeting, Principal Assessor Skip Moynihan said that taxpayers will see a slight increase in this year’s tax rate mostly due to the approval of the new high school.
Based on Moynihan’s recommendation, selectmen supported the classification shift of 1.75 this year, the same as it has been shifted since 2008. By doing so, the impact on residents will be minimized, Moynihan said.
Moynihan estimated that the Wilmington residential tax rate will be $13.61 per $1,000 of assessed value while the commercial rate will be $32.08 per $1,000. In 2012, the Wilmington tax rate was $12.14, an increase of about 9.5 percent. The commercial rate was $28.64 in 2012.
The average homeowner will see an increase of approximately $413 in this year’s tax bill, which Moynihan said is mostly due to the new school approval.
Selectman Mike Champoux asked Moynihan a question that he said residents frequently ask him during tax season. If property values are going down in many cases, why are tax bills on the rise?
“It’s one of the most common questions we get and one of the cruelest jokes we can play on people,” said Moynihan. “We’re telling people the value of your investment in the Town of Wilmington has dropped slightly, but at the same time, taxes have gone up. The variable is the tax rate. Our costs are increasing. Regardless of the value of properties, we still have to generate enough income to keep the town going. We have to pay teachers, fire, police, etc. If values come down, the tax rate goes up to compensate for the drop in value."
The Principal Assessor, who is retiring in the near future, said the Wilmington real estate is healthy with 27 new homes built in the last year. He also added that the town had $1,131,065 in new growth, a significant spike from last year’s total of $842,851.
“That’s a message saying that through small business, this community has done a little better than other towns in the area,” said selectman Mike McCoy. “Once again the residents in the community have one of the lowest rates in the Merrimack Valley. The town is sitting pretty good.”