Members of the Board of Assessors were requested to appear before the City Council Monday night after numerous complaints about new property assessments, taxes and the ability for people in the city to be able to continue to afford to live in Revere.
Dana Brangiforte, chairman of the Board of Assessors, said the assessments reflect the real estate market, and he has to make sure the city raises $82 million on the tax levy so that the city is able to meet all its budget requirements. Joined by fellow board members John Verrengia and Mathew McGrath, he explained that as assessments of properties go up, the actual tax rate goes down, and vice versa.
The fiscal year 2018 tax rates are $12.96 for residential and $25.36 for commercial property. In FY 2017, residential tax rate was $13.99 and $27.53 for commercial property.
“The more commercial (property) the more you offset this,” Brangiforte said. “We (the assessors) don’t control the taxes.”
Ward 2 Councillor Ira Novoselsky said he is worried about his neighborhood adding that young couples are not moving in as they cannot afford the rents or mortgages.
“My assessment went up $60,000,” he shared. “This is an issue all over the city. We have to balance out taxes and assessments. It just seems my neighborhood got whacked.”
Ward 3 Councillor Arthur Guinasso said the valuations of condominiums on the beach went up drastically. Ward 5 Councillor John Powers said he’s heard these complaints, too. Those in the St. George saw assessments go up, but there was also strong sales activity in the building.
“The people who are affected are the people who can least afford it. This increase is on top of condo fees,” Powers said.
He noted that the only way to reduce assessments and property taxes is to reduce spending or find new growth.
“New growth at Suffolk Downs and Wonderland should help,” Brangiforte said.
He reminded people that there is a 30-day appeals process to appeal the assessed value of a property, and he said there are “all kinds” of exemptions. The city assesses property every one, five and 10 years based on the real estate market.
“It comes down to the city budget,” said Councillor Dan Rizzo, who added that there were 1,500 abatement hearings in 2002 and less than 100 in 2016.
Revere property owners got a tax bill in January showing the new assessments. Some saw an increase in assessments of $60,000 (which equates to about a $777 increase on a tax bill). On Dana Street a man noted an increase in valuation of $171,200; another at $135,000 and a single-family home of 4,000 square feet up $188,000 in value. Also noted were a home on North Shore Road up $49,000 in value and one on Patriot Parkway with only a $30,000 increase.
Councillor Steve Morabito, who is in the real estate industry, said it’s a catch-22.
“Everywhere you go home values are skyrocketing. If your selling you want your assessment to be high and the tax rate goes down, but assessments are up and they’re assessed at lower than market value,” Morabito said.