Wayland Tax Rate Hearing Comes With Residential Value Up Sharply

WAYLAND, MA — Wayland will hold its annual tax rate hearing Monday, and it is possible taxpayers will see a noticeable rate decrease — but that doesn’t mean bills will go down.

The town assessor is recommending a 2023 single tax rate of $16.65 per $1,000 of assessed property value. If approved by the Select Board, that would be the lowest rate since 2009. The 2022 rate was set at $18.35 per $1,000.

At the same time, residential property values rose over 14 percent over the last year. A more valuable home might mean higher tax bills, even if the rate drops.

The owner of a home of average value in Wayland — now about $958,000 — could see a bill increase of 3.7 percent (about $572) at the $16.65 rate, according to the assessor.

The assessor is also reporting a record year for property value growth. Wayland’s 2023 new growth — additions to the tax base over the last year — was over $48 million. In 2022, new growth was near $16.5 million, $18 million in 2021 and about $30 million in 2020.

“This increase is the result of expanded activity by the assessor’s office and continued town-wide building construction, including the Alta River’s Edge in the spring of 2022,” the assessor said in a memo to the Select Board.

The value of all property in Wayland, from homes and cars to commercial properties, reached $4.8 billion in 2023. But the town only needs to set the rate high enough to raise about $80 million, which is the size of the town budget approved by Town Meeting earlier this year.

The Select Board also has the option to split the levy, charging residential property owners a lower tax rate by setting a higher rate for commercial and industrial property owners. But since 95 percent of property in Wayland is residential, splitting the rate makes less sense than in larger communities like Boston, Framingham and Worcester that have more commercial and industrial properties.

Whatever rate the Select Board chooses on Monday, the state Department of Revenue will still have to approve it.

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