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City and Town, the weekly on-line newsletter of the Department of Revenue's Division of Local Services, has just published a well-researched and quite comprehensive article on average single-family property tax bills for FY10.

In a nutshell, the article concludes that "the weighted average tax bill increased in 2010 by $140 or 3.3 percent, to $4,390, the smallest percentage increase of any year in the past decade. The percentage increase during this time ranged from the current low to a high of 6.7 percent in 2002.

"The cumulative percentage increase of this period is 55.3 percent, an average of 5.5 percent each year. Generally speaking, the average bill has recently increased at a slower pace suggesting a few factors are at play, such as leaner budgets, reduced excess levy capacity, and Proposition 2.5 override fatigue."

Proposition 2.5 allows a community's tax levy to increase 2.5 percent annually, with new growth adding additional levy capacity. 

The article written by Terry Williams of the Division of Local Service's Bureau of Accounts, and James Paquette, of DLS's Bureau of Local Assessment, looks at property tax bills, property values and community trends. It also includes a link to an easy to read spreadsheet ranking each city and town and comparing previous year's property tax rates.

(Editor's note: DLS has also published a spreadsheet outling the annual percentage average single family tax bill increase over each of the past 20 years. Not only was the 2010 increase the smallest in those 20 years, it also marked the fourth consecutive year of decline in the average annual increase, which is the first time that has happened in 20 years.) 

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