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Rockport tax rate decreases 1.42%

By Susan Mustapich | Sep 08, 2020

ROCKPORT — Rockport residents are seeing a decrease in their property tax rate this year, set at $16.81 per $1,000 dollars of property tax valuation, down from $17.05 in 2019.

The decrease of 1.42% is the first time since a 2004 revaluation that Rockport's tax rate has gone down, according to Assessor Kerry Leichtman.

The tax bill for a property valued at $272,800, the median property value for the town, will decrease by $65.47, according to Leichtman.

Leichtman reported to Town Manager Bill Post that Rockport's taxable real estate value decreased $1,223,855 from last year. Personal property is also lower, a decrease of $371,000 and other revenues forecast are 9% lower than last year.

Normally, such decreases in taxable value would force the tax rate to rise, Leichtman said.

However, Rockport's share of the 2020 school district and county budgets decreased, and the municipal budget also decreased from 2019.

In addition, state revenue sharing increased 33% or $100,923 over last year.

The municipal budget, approved by voters Aug. 18, is down 1%, or $34,445 from the prior year.

Rockport's share of Knox County government costs is down 1%.

Rockport's share of the costs for Camden-Rockport and Five Town CSD educational costs is down 4% or $379,645, Leichtman reported.

All of these factors combined to the 24-cent decrease in our tax rate, Leichtman said.

"It is worth noting that the original estimate of this year's school appropriation represented an increase over last year of $545,448 (up 5%). The amended calculation, therefore, was a 9% swing, which of course is significant," Leichtman said.

On Aug. 3, Camden-Rockport Superintendent Maria Libby announced that the district had made an error in calculating each town's share of the 2020-21 budget. The town of Rockport filed a lawsuit Aug. 28 seeking reimbursement from the town of Camden and regional school district. The lawsuit alleges the school district used student enrollment in error, instead of property valuation, in calculating school costs for each town. Libby's press release indicated that the error was found by the school district's business office. The error may go back many years, according to the lawsuit.

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