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Peabody decides not to be too taxing

PEABODY — Property tax rates are going up, but will remain among the lowest in Essex County.

The City Council approved a split tax rate that will see residential property taxed at $11.46 per $1,000 of valuation, while the tax rate for commercial and industrial property was set at $24.11. The average homeowner in Peabody can expect an annual hike in their tax bill of about $141.

“This year, we anticipate that Peabody will have one of the lower tax bills in the county, at about $2,800 less than the average of $7,000,” said Michael Gingras, the city’s finance director.

The council approved the tax rate classification 9-1, with Anne Manning-Martin voting no and Ward 6 Councilor Barry Sinewitz unable to attend the hearing because he was at a Planning Board meeting.

The tax bill also takes into account estimated amounts of state aid to the city.

“Overall, no one likes a tax increase, but if all this comes true, it’s probably the most modest increase I’ve seen,” said Councilor-at-Large David Gravel.

In presenting the case for the tax rate, Mayor Edward A. Bettencourt highlighted many of the efforts the city has undertaken while it has managed to keep tax rates affordable.

“Our investments in Peabody’s future, together with our ongoing commitment to make Peabody an affordable and desirable place to live, has helped our city become one of the hottest real estate markets in Massachusetts,” said the mayor.

To ease the burden on homeowners, the tax rate proposed by the mayor and approved by the council shifted a slightly higher burden on commercial property owners this year, and also called for drawing $2.1 million from the city’s reserve funds.

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