Durham’s 2010 grand list dropped by 6.8 percent following last year’s revaluation, a figure town assessor John Philip said would result in a shift of the tax burden in town.
Philip presented the figures during the Board of Selectman meeting Monday night.
“Although it is painful for a grand list to go down, most residential properties will see some kind of break in this revaluation, which is actually pretty unusual,” Philip told the board.
According to Philip, the median decrease in assessment for a single family home in Durham was even greater than the overall drop in the grand list, at 8.8 percent, which he said “means most houses will benefit from this, whether they actually see a [tax] decrease or not they will see a decrease in their share of the burden.”
The decrease in assessed property value will not necessarily result in lower taxes for residents according to Philip. This is because the mill rate – currently at 26.81 – is likely to increase when the town and school district adopt a new budget in the spring.
More of the tax burden is expected to fall on commercial property owners, whose assessments fell by only 1.6 percent.
But Durham Manufacturing, the town’s second largest taxpayer, will see a significant drop according to Philip, who said the company’s personal and property assessments fell by about one-quarter.
Compared to other towns, Philip said the drop in Durham's grand list was on the “high side,” which he said was due in part to the fact that “so much of the real estate [in Durham] is residential real estate.”
Philip said 1,586 homes (about two-thirds) in Durham dropped more than 6.8 percent.
Personal property, a small part of the list, decreased by 7.3 percent, while motor vehicles increased 7 percent.
Philip said the numbers were preliminary because the assessment appeals process had not been completed. Property owners have until Feb. 20 to file an appeal with the town’s Board of Assessment Appeals.
The grand list, or the accumulated list of all taxable property in town, totaled $727,632,930 for 2010, compared with $780,772,117 in 2009.
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