by Mary Grow
At a special meeting Aug. 29, China selectmen set the 2016-17 tax rate at 15.5 mils ($15.50 for each $1,000 of valuation), as recommended by assessor William Van Tuinen. The new rate is a decrease of 0.1 mils (10 cents per $1,000) from the 2015-16 rate. Because state law has increased the homestead exemption for people whose Maine house is their principal residence from $10,000 to $15,000, homeowners who have made no taxable improvements to their property can expect their bills to go down by more than the rate decrease. Owners of seasonal residences and businesses are likely to see a tax increase.
A letter selectmen signed to accompany tax bills explains that three of the four main components of local taxes increased – the school budget, the county budget and the municipal budget. The fourth, China’s obligation to FirstPark in Oakland, remained the same. However, increases in property valuations due to new building, plus a more determined effort to locate taxable personal property, increased tax revenue as well, making the slightly lower rate possible.
By town meeting vote, the first half payment on local taxes is due at the town office by the close of business Friday, Sept. 30. China selectmen hold their next regular meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6, changed from the usual Monday to avoid the Labor Day holiday. The meeting will be preceded by a 6:55 p.m. public hearing on the annual changes to the town’s General Assistance Ordinance.
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