New Bedford Property Tax Rates Get Minimum Increase For 2017
After New Bedford's huge spike in total tax collection this year, residents and businesses are catching a relative break in 2017.
At Monday night's Tax Classification Hearing, the New Bedford City Council voted 9-2 to increase tax rates for both businesses and residents by the minimum factor allowed. That increases the rate per $1,000 value by only about 20 cents in each category from 2016.
Residential rates jumped from $15.73 in 2015 to $16.49 per $1,000 this year, a 76-cent increase. FY17's residential rate will be set at $16.69.
Commercial, industrial, and personal property rates have seen $2-plus increases per $1,000 the past two fiscal years, with only a 20 cent increase next year to $36.03 per $1,000 in property value, according to officials.
Councillor Ian Abreu said without a robust residential and commercial tax base in the city, choosing to increase tax rates is a difficult decision.
"Today was one of those tough votes, but we were able to do it minimally on the backs of our residents and commercial tax payers," Abreu said.
The total levy, or total tax collections set by the city to meet budget requirements, is set at $114,073,906 for FY17, only a $4.8-million increase compared to 2016's $7.6-million total levy increase.
Councillor Brian Gomes expects some displeasure from residents with the higher rates. He told WBSM News the Council approved the smallest increase possible because residents and businesses couldn't handle anything more.
"People are stretching to the bare ends with insurance for the homes [to] groceries. There's an increase in everything, and we try to do the best we possibly can to put the minimum effect on the taxpayers," Gomes said.
Councillors Linda Morad and Steve Martins voted against the motion.
Martins, who voted against every tax rate recommended, said giving taxpayers more benefits would be easier if more had been cut from the FY17 city budget back in June.
"I also didn't support the budget. If we couldn't cut enough to cut the budget to help taxpayers, then I wouldn't support the residential and commercial tax rate here today," Martins said.