Property taxes going up

The Board of Assessors has good news and bad news for local taxpayers, but it may be hard to tell which is which. The state has given its OK to an 11 percent increase in the property tax rate, from $15.03 per $1,000 of assessed value for last fiscal year to $16.72 for this year. But average property owners will see just a 3 percent increase in their annual bill, since local property values have dropped an average of $26,000. According to Charles Marsden, chairman of the Board of Assessors, the higher tax rate was approved in part to compensate for the drop in property values, which would have reduced revenue for the town. Increases in the municipal and school budgets and a voter-approved Proposition 2½ override to pay for a third water source for the town also required the higher tax rate. The first bill at the new rate is due next month. Upton has a single tax rate for all property classes.