Braintree's tax rates will increase next year to $11.11 per thousand for residential property and $25.45 for commercial/industrial under a proposal approved Tuesday night by the Town Council.
A tax classification shift, which since 1986 has extracted extra value from business properties in Braintree, will save residential owners more than $3 per $1,000 of property value in fiscal year 2013.
Councilors voted unanimously in favor of the tax plan, put forward by the Mayor's Office and the Board of Assessors. The average residential bill will increase $80 next year, depending on fluctuations in property value. For commercial and industrial properties, the average increase will be $3,672.
Though he was among those who voted for the proposal, Councilor John Mullaney criticized the increase in taxes, saying that new homeowners are especially burdened and that a significant portion of Braintree residents are against tax hikes.
"Let me make it clear," he said, "This is a new tax. We can do better."
Mullaney proposed that a meals tax could raise as much as $1 million a year and help freeze future property tax increases. His past proposals have failed to gain traction in the council.
"No one likes to pay taxes," Mayor Joseph Sullivan said. "We understand that."
However, Sullivan said that the tax plan is fair, stressing that because Braintree takes advantage of the classification shift, homeowners save significant amounts of money each year.
Last year, residential owners paid $10.45 per thousand and commercial industrial owners paid $23.65.
"We do have a very good tax rate in comparison with other communities," Council President Charles Kokoros said.
The council, with members Tom Bowes and Ronald DeNapoli absent, also voted favorably on a small business tax reduction for businesses with less than 10 employees and less than $1 million in value, and negatively on exemptions for open space and principal home ownership.
In addition, based on a recommendation from Ways & Means Chair Paul "Dan" Clifford and the committee itself, councilors unanimously approved an increase in the property tax exemption for those 70 years or older from $500 to $750, with a scheduled boost to $1,000 in fiscal year 2014.
"As small an amount as it seems, it really is a huge impact on individuals," Kokoros said.
They also raised income limits for the deduction, from $16,085 for single people to $20,000, and $19,302 to $30,000 if married. Asset limits went from $29,881 to $40,000 if single and $32,015 to $55,000 if married.