SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

November 14, 2013

Danvers property values stable

Only some condo owners will see increase

BY ETHAN FORMAN
STAFF WRITER

---- — DANVERS — Assessors made few adjustments to property values in this interim period between three-year updates of all values in town, Chief Assessor Marlene Locke said.

Most property owners in Danvers will see no change to their assessments from last year, she said.

After assessors analyzed property sales to make sure the values were at full and fair cash value, only a minority of condominium owners may see an increase in values, and most will see no change at all, Locke said.

Condo values increased overall about 1 percent, with 40 percent of condominiums having their values adjusted. About 30 percent of them were decreased, 10 percent were increased, resulting in the slight increase, Locke said.

“What we do is we look at the condominium complex, because all of them are so different,” Locke said about how assessors gauge condo values.

With this in mind, selectmen are scheduled to hold a tax classification hearing at 7 p.m. in the Toomey Hearing Room in Town Hall on Nov. 19.

The hearing will determine the percentages of the tax burden borne by residential, commercial and industrial properties for the present fiscal year. Each year, selectmen choose a tax factor of between 1 and 1.50 to accomplish this, the effect of which is to shift the tax levy burden from residential and open space properties onto commercial and industrial ones.

Assessors then set the tax rates based on this shift.

Last year’s tax factor was 1.26, which set the percentage of the tax levy borne by homeowners at 66.5 percent, and the percentage borne by commercial and industrial properties at 33.5 percent. Without this shift onto commercial and industrial, homes would bear 73.4 percent of the tax levy, and businesses would bear 26.6 percent.

If selectmen choose a 1.26 tax factor this year, it would preserve the roughly 66 percent residential and 34 percent commercial and industrial split.

At this tax factor, an average single-family home assessed at $350,000, an average condo assessed at $220,000, and an average commercial and industrial property assessed at $1.3 million would all see a roughly 3 percent tax increase, according to a report by Locke, which can be found on the front page of the town’s website, http://www.danvers.govoffice.com.

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at eforman@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.