Tax Rate Decreases, But Property Values Rise

The City Council unanimously approved the Minimum Residential Factor for the purpose of establishing the Fiscal Year 2020 tax rate at its Council meeting Monday night.

Board of Assessors Chair Dana Brangiforte and Assessors John Verrengia and Mathew McGrath appeared before the City Council, announcing that the residential tax rate would be $11.26 while the commercial tax rate would be $21.88.

The $11.26 figure represents a decrease from last year’s rate of $12.11. The $21.88 figure is also a decrease from last year’s rate of $23.68.

However, Brangiforte stated that single-family homeowners will see an average increase of $106 in their tax bills. Condominium owners will see an average increase of $187, two-family home owners will see an increase of $245 and three-family home owners will see an increase of more than $600.

The reason for the increases in the average tax bills (despite the lower tax rate) is because the revaluation of Revere properties saw assessed property values increase.

Speaking about the increased tax bills, Ward 4 Councillor Patrick Keefe said,“ I was very much under the impression that we wouldn’t be seeing an increase in the assessments based on the fact that they rose so much in the last few years. I know this is not going to be determined tonight, but we have to figure out how to even it out so the residents are not paying more.”

 Ward 1 Councillor Joanne McKenna said there are three major problems that Revere residents always talk about: “the overbuilding, the traffic, and the taxes.”

“The people got creamed last year with the taxes,” said McKenna. “So I can’t see myself voting for more taxes.”

Brangiforte explained that the Council would not be voting for a tax increase, “you’re just voting on whether there should be a split tax rate, yes or no, and what percentage that split-rate should be.”

Ward 2 Councillor Ira Novoselsky said while it is unfortunate that the tax bills are increasing, “people are happy right now with the services they are getting in the city of Revere. They (DPW, Fire, Police) deserve what they’re getting, but unfortunately the assessments on people’s homes are helping pay for that. Unfortunately, that’s where we have to go. And it’s up to the mayor to come in with a budget next year as low as possible, for us to scrutinize it, and see what we can do to try and keep those numbers down.”

Councillor-at-Large Jessica Giannino echoed colleague Joanne McKenna’s comment that taxes are one of the biggest concerns in the city.

“People are getting priced out of their homes, they’re having a hard time paying their water bills…this is hurting our most vulnerable residents, it’s affecting seniors, people with disabilities, people in working-class families,” said Giannino.

“I just hope we keep this conversation in the back of our minds next year when we look at the budget and find ways that we cannot cut city services,” she added.

Saying he was passionate about the issue of taxes, Councillor-at-Large Steven Morabito reasoned that, “We (the city of Revere) need a revenue stream, but so don’t our people. One hundred dollars doesn’t seem like a lot, but it may be to that one family.”

Council President Arthur Giannino called the issue of taxes “a very controversial situation, but the bottom line is that if we have an ‘X’ number of dollars, somebody has to pay for it, and it’s you the taxpayer.”

 The Revere tax rate will now be proposed to the state Department of Revenue for its approval.

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