Lunenburg’s 135% property assessment increase, now that’s inflation
LUNENBURG – There’s inflation and then there’s Lunenburg’s 135% property assessment increase for some lakefront homes which resulted in tax increases of about 50%.
If you think Lunenburg’s assessor received a few calls after that little bomb landed in the mail then you would be right. What’s more, tax bills are due in two weeks, not a lot of time to find thousands of unexpected dollars.
Some of those slapped with the exorbitantly high property tax bills spoke out, others hoped it was a mistake.
“Many of the residents can’t afford this kind of a jump,” homeowner John Fortune told NewsCenter 5. Adding that his quarterly property tax bill increased by $2,000.
Though it abuts one of the most expensive real estate markets in the country, Lunenburg is not an affluent community.
According to recent census data, the average, per capita income per Lunenburg resident was $26,986.At a recent meeting of the Lunenburg Select Board, a few members could tell that maybe, just maybe, they should have told folks sooner to cushion the blow. A blow that Lunenburg’s Assessor C.J. Carroll said was coming anyway.
“We did find that there was about a 30% discrepcancy with lakefront communities when the analysis was done,” Carroll told Channel 7 News. “And so, the proper adjustments were made.”
Wait don’t worry, the board said they were going to do something, my gosh, are they going to rethink that tax increase? Of course not. What they are going to do instead is investigate the failure to communicate sooner the huge property tax increase that was coming.
While Carroll said the town relied on state guidelines, residents argue that the housing sales used by the town came during the COVID-19 pandemic causing hyperinflation.
“In two years, they’ve tripled the value of the property,” Lake Shirley resident Ken Chenis told NewsCenter 5. “My taxes have gone up dramatically from $1,600 to $5,099 per quarter.” He added that a professional assessment came in at $715,000 the same year that the town’s assessment came in at $1.1. million.
Next up for Lunenburg residents, abatements and a lot of political fallout.
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