FARMINGDALE — Town taxpayers will see a 5% increase in their annual tax bill.

Farmingdale selectboard members recently voted unanimously on a tax rate of $17.15 per $1,000 of property value after considering three possible tax rates; the others were $17.11 and $17.20. The other rates would have increased or decreased the amount of budget overlay, or money that could be used to cover unexpected shortfalls. The $17.15 rate gives the town $46,467 in overlay.

The previous property tax rate was $16.30 per $1,000 of property value. The increase means an average taxpayer, who has a property valued at $175,000, will see an annual tax bill of $3,001.25, an increase of $148.75.

The increase is tied to a rising spending plan approved back in June. Fiscal year 2020’s municipal spending plan totals $1,684,186, about $279,029 — or 19.8% — more than last year’s figure of $1,405,157. The big increases in the budget were $126,760 for an annual bond payment for the town’s new fire station and a one-time $110,000 expenditure that pays for the conversion of the town’s streetlights to more-efficient LED lights. The budget for Regional School Unit 2 also increased the tax burden on Farmingdale residents by $178,116.

Taxpayers may also be affected by a slight decrease in homestead exemption. Town Clerk Rose Webster said the state has valued Farmingdale at 98% of their total assessment for this year, which means the full homestead exemption will not be available for residents. Instead, the usual $20,000 reduction in assessed value will only be $19,600. Webster said it was because the town’s homes were selling for more than their assessed value.

“Things are just selling and people are doing bidding wars,” she said during the meeting.

Deputy Town Clerk Natalie Jackson said tax bills went out earlier this week.

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