The Board of Assessors approved the 2016-17 Tax Commitment for the town of Thomaston Oct. 6.

The tax rate has increased from $18.03 per $1,000 valuation to $18.68 — up nearly 4 percent.

About half of that increase is due to the increase in the Homestead Exemption from $10,000 to $15,000 mandated by the Maine Legislature, according to Assessor David Martucci. The state reimburses the town half of the lost revenue. For most residents who are eligible for the Homestead Exemption, their tax likely is either the same or has gone down or up slightly, depending on the total valuation.

For example, a $100,000 property last year with the Homestead Exemption was assessed $1,622.70 in tax. This year, the same valued property with the new Homestead Exemption will pay $1,587.80, even though the tax rate went up $0.65 per $1,000.

At a value of $200,000 with the Homestead Exemption, however, last year the tax was $3,425.70, while this year it will be $3,455.80.

A property valued at less than $153,500 that has the Homestead Exemption will see its taxes will go down compared to last year, whereas above $153,500 it will go up slightly over last year.

If the value is $15,000 or less, for example, an older mobile home on a rented lot, the Homestead Exemption will exempt the taxpayer from property taxes altogether, Martucci said.

Anyone without the exemption, of course, will see a 4 percent increase over last year.

The rest of the increase is due to a general loss of 1 percent of total valuation over last year (Dragon, for example, now has nearly $4 million in TIF equipment that qualifies for the Business Equipment Tax Exemption – which is no longer counted towards the town's taxable valuation), and increases in each major expense category; county tax is up 9 percent; school assessment is up 3 percent; municipal assessments is up 1 percent; and TIF costs are up 2 percent.

The TIF costs are used to determine the tax rate, but that money is actually paid by the TIF beneficiaries — mostly Dragon Cement — and not by the taxpayers, according to Martucci.

At the same time, it is expected that the state revenue-sharing will go down again by 1 percent, and other revenues — which are dedicated to reducing taxes — are also expected to go down by 3 percent. All of these factors drive the tax rate up, he said.

The 2016-17 Tax Commitment Book, which gives all of the details, including the math used to arrive at the tax rate and each individual’s tax liability, is now available in the "downloads" section of the town’s website, http://town.thomaston.me.us/.