November 21, 2013WAKEFIELD — Town Administrator Teresa Williams announced on Nov. 13 that town's property tax rate for 2013 has been set at $12.28 per thousand dollars of valuation, up 33 cents or 2.76 percent from the 2012 rate of $11.95 per thousand.
The rate is set with the assistance and approval of the Department of Revenue Administration and had been delayed for al towns this year due to problems setting the state school portion of the rate.
Williams said the main reason for the increase was not an increase in spending but a decline in assessed value. Lower property values translate into a higher rate per property even at the same level of spending. The continuing weakness in the real estate market has lowered assessed values in all towns.
Upon hearing the rate announcement at the Nov. 13 selectmen's meeting, Resident Jim Miller said that while as a taxpayer he was not happy to hear the rate is going up, he also said to the board, "You guys are doing a great job…This is the best run town in the state."
Property tax bills should be in the mail by Friday, Nov. 22.
Selectmen's 2014 budget
Selectmen announced that they plan to meet on Monday, Nov. 18 to review the health insurance section of the budget. The selectmen's proposed 2014 budget, however, has been turned over to the Budget Committee for review.
Excluding any changes in health insurance costs, the proposed operating budget for 2014 is $4,168,517, up $93,808 or 2.3 percent from the $4,074,709 approved by voters for 2013. Although there are changes in nearly all departments – reductions as well as increases – the significant area of increase is in the cost of elections. In 2014 there will be three elections vs. only one in 2013: there will be state primary and general elections in addition to the town election in March.
The total proposed budget, which includes capital outlays and capital reserve warrant articles, is $4,604,327, up $122,392 from the $4,481.935 approved by voters for 2013. Most of the $51,141 proposed increase in capital items comes from an increase in the Highway Department Truck Reserve of $25,000 and an increase the Technology capital outlay of $25,000.