Property taxes in Amherst to rise by $250 on average

  • Amherst Town Hall File photo

Staff Writer
Thursday, November 01, 2018

AMHERST — Amherst homeowners will pay on average about $250 more in property taxes next year based on the tax rate established by the Select Board last week.

The board voted unanimously Monday to support a recommendation from the Board of Assessors to establish a single tax rate of $21.80 per $1,000 of property value for both residential and commercial properties in the current fiscal year.

Principal Assessor David Burgess said for the average home valued at $353,700, the tax bill will be $7,714, an increase of $252 from the $7,462 bill in the last fiscal year for an average home assessed at $353,000. Burgess said there was only a “slight increase” in the value of residential properties over the past year.

While the town is given the option to have a split tax rate that shifts more of the property tax burden onto commercial properties, Burgess explained that this is not possible in Amherst.

Amherst has just 10 percent of its properties designated commercial, Burgess said. At the maximum shift, this would increase the commercial tax rate to $32.71 and drop the residential tax rate to $20.47, which would reduce the residential property tax bill by $474 to $7,240.

The many apartment complexes in Amherst are not classified as commercial properties, Burgess said.

The Select Board also voted against offering a residential exemption for owner-occupied properties, which is typically only used in communities with large vacation home populations. They also voted down a small commercial exemption, which applies to properties valued at more than $1 million with 10 or fewer employees. Burgess said Amherst has none of this type of business.

Although the public had an opportunity to comment on the tax classification, no residents offered comments.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.