Select Board sets lower residential tax rates for 2021

Nov 24, 2020

This article has been updated to reflect that the tax rates are per $1,000 of valuation, not per 1,000 sq.ft.

Dartmouth residents will be looking at an average tax increase of 3% next year — despite a $.02 lower tax rate — as the Select Board approved the town’s 2021 commercial and residential tax rates at a meeting on Nov. 23.

Residential tax rates decreased from $9.93 to an estimated $9.91 per $1,000 of value this year as the board voted 4-1 to shift a larger portion of the tax burden on to commercial property owners. 

In order to keep residential and commercial tax increases as balanced as possible, the 2021 percent tax “shift” was set to 1.59 — up from 1.52 last year. 

Commercial property rates will be an estimated $17.69 per $1,000 of value, up from $16.80 last year.

According to Administrator of Assessing Richard Gonsalves, this means that the average residential and commercial property owners will be paying an estimated 3% and 3.9% more in taxes in 2021, respectively.

The median home in Dartmouth jumped over 3.5% in value in the past year, going from $331,000 to $343,000 this year.

Under the new estimated rates,  a homeowner with a median-value property will likely see an increase of $105 to their tax bill, while a commercial property owner with a median value of $482,000 will see their bill go up by around $322.

Select Board member John Haran was the lone dissenting vote at the meeting, stating that he’d like to see the commercial tax rates stay the same as last year.

“I don’t want to give any more pain to our business district during Covid-19,” he said. “They’re suffering enough.”

Although other board members agreed, they voted in favor of the new split to keep commercial and residential tax increases balanced.

“It’s a very difficult time for everyone,” noted board member Stanley Mickelson.

“The only fairest way is to make this as even as possible and go with the 1.59 [split],” said Vice Chair Shawn McDonald, adding, “This is by far the toughest decision that I have to make every year.”

“If their business is small enough, they will get the small commercial exemption, which helps significantly,” noted Select Board chair Frank Gracie III. “And that’s as good as we can do.”