It is the responsibility of the Assessors' Office to establish the taxable valuation of each individual piece of property in the Town. However, the Assessors do not create value. Buyers and sellers create value via their transactions in the marketplace. The Assessor analyzes the data and makes adjustments accordingly. At Town Meeting each year, a budget is voted on by Town Meeting Members taking into account the limits of Proposition 2 ½, and how much money will be needed to meet all appropriations and other expenses.
The difference between the amount approved and the money received from other revenue sources (i.e., state aid, local receipts, and available funds) must be raised by property taxation.
The valuation assessments are developed independently from the budget and are used only in the last step of the budgeting process to distribute the Tax Levy. Changing property values does not affect the overall Tax Levy, but it may result in the redistribution of the tax levy burden among all taxable properties in town. Annually, the Board of Selectmen establishes the fiscal year real estate and personal property tax rates. These rates represent a tax per thousand dollars of assessed value, which, when applied to each property's assessed valuation, yields that property's annual tax bill.