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UPDATED Dec. 6: Arlington’s 2024 property-tax rate will decrease, to $10.59, down from this year’s $11.21, as unanimously approved by the Select Board on Monday, Dec. 4.

However, town officials say, because single-family housing prices have soared in Arlington as elsewhere in the commonwealth – with the average home in town now valued at more than $1 million – despite the lower rate, taxes as a whole will increase for property owners.

And that means that next year’s average annual tax bill will be $10,751, up from this year’s $10,228, an increase of $523, according to Director of Assessments Dana Mann in remarks made at the meeting. 

To see the full report, click here >> 

Mann explained how his office calculates the tax rate: “We look back to last year and take the fiscal year 2023 levy limit. We add to that 2 ½ percent for Proposition 2 1/2, and then add to that new growth – the value of new property to the town that we’re taxing for first time.”

He noted that there is no override this year. The Nov. 7 vote was for the next fiscal year, and that develops the fiscal 2024 levy limit. “We take that number and add the excluded debt – in this case, it’s school debt -- which gives us the maximum total to be raised, $153,851,509,” he said.

The total taxable assessed value, slightly more than $14.5 billion, is divided by the amount to be raised ($153,807,575), and then divided by 1,000 to give a single tax rate of $10.59, he explained.

Select Board Vice President John Hurd said, “New growth is the key to stopping overrides. We have significantly similar, if not better, services than Arlington’s surrounding towns due to good administration and fiscal management from the top down. This makes us feel better when taxes go up.”

$18 million bond sale approved 

The Select Board also unanimously approved the sale of $18,090,000 general-obligation municipal-purpose loans for the town’s 2023 bonds, to be used for several capital projects. 

“We had an excellent result, with 11 bids, whereas other municipalities had only between three and five bids. Fidelity Capital Markets was the winning bidder, and the interest rate is 3.69 percent over the life of the bonds,” said Treasurer Julie Wayman.

This borrowing includes $10 million in exempt debt for the high school, just over $4 ½ million for the Department of Public Works, and a number of smaller capital projects, such as trucks and replacing the Bishop School roof, for a little over $8 million in nonexempt debt. “We’re very pleased with the results of the sale,” added Wayman.

In a memo to Select Board Chair Eric Helmuth, Wayman wrote, “Bond proceeds of $922,000 in cash were also received from the winning bidder, which will be used to finance various municipal purposes and reduce the cost of the bond sale to $17,290,000.”

To see all the supporting documentation, click here >> 

Select Board member Steve DeCourcey congratulated the town on its AAA bond rating and said, “It’s nice to see 11 bids, because last year there were only four bids, and the interest rate is a little less than a year ago.” 

Watch ACMi video of Dec. 4, 2023, meeting:

Nov. 29, 2022: Rate declines, but taxes expected to rise next year

 


This news announcement by YourArlington freelance writer Susan Gilbert was published Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023. It was updated Dec. 6, to add an ACMi video window and further details, including the bond sale.

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