China’s property tax rate for the 2022-23 fiscal year, which began July 1, will be 12.05 mils ($12.05 for each $1,000 of valuation).
After a series of frustrating delays caused by computer issues, the new rate was approved unanimously by the board of assessors (also the select board) at a special meeting Sept. 6.
By June’s town business meeting vote, which select board members cannot change, the first half payment of local taxes is due at the town office by 4:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 30.
Town Manager Rebecca Hapgood said bills would go to the printer as soon as possible. If the printer is speedy, they might be in the mail by Sept. 9 or Sept. 12. They will also be on the town website, china.govoffice.org.
The 2022-23 rate is a decrease of 2.35 mils, or $2.35 per $1,000, from the 2021-22 rate of 14.4 mills ($14.40 for each $1,000 of valuation).
The lower rate does not mean everyone’s taxes will go down. Taxes are based on valuation multiplied by mil rate; some valuations will have increased, either through assessor William Van Tuinen’s adjustments as prices change or because property-owners have made improvements.
China’s tax rate is usually set by mid-August. The computer problems made other municipalities using the program that China uses send their bills closer than usual to due dates, Hapgood and assessing assistant Kelly Grotton said.
Interest will be charged on late payments, again by a town meeting vote that selectmen cannot override. Grotton said the interest rate is low enough so that for most property-owners, a few days’ interest will add only pennies to the bill.
Next year, Hapgood said, the warrant article for the annual town business meeting will be reworded to allow for unexpected delays – making the first due date either a fixed date “or 30 days after the tax commitment,” for example.
Hapgood said expenditures from taxes will rise in the current fiscal year, for the town, the school department and Kennebec County. An increase in valuations more than offset the increased spending, making the lower tax rate possible.
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