Naples reduces tax rate

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — Naples property owners might get a pleasant surprise when they open up their tax bills in the coming weeks.

The tax rate has been reduced.

On Monday, the Naples Board of Selectmen opted to reduce the tax rate by 35 cents, bringing it to $13.20 for fiscal year 2017.

“That is a good mil rate,” Chairman Bob Caron II said after the vote.

All five selectmen were present for the vote.

Prior to the motion, the board previewed spreadsheets based on four different tax rates provided by John O’Donnell & Associates.

Selectman Rich Cebra asked some questions about the overlay, including how much of it was used during the previous fiscal year.

The overlay is a few cents more than the mil rate to account for the percentage of tax bills that are not paid in a timely manner.

O’Donnell provided “the maximum overlay allowed by state law,” Naples Town Manager Ephrem Paraschak said.

“Every year, the town dips into overlay usually with abatements. Those come off the top of the overlay. Then, after the fiscal year, it (the remaining overlay money) is rolled over into Undesignated Fund Balance,” Paraschak said.

Last year, the overlay was $340,000, he said. Abatements took up about half of that, he said. So, $190,000 of the overlay was rolled into the Undesignated Fund Balance, he said.

Paraschak added that the fund balance is slightly less than $2 million.

“That is two to three months operating costs for the town,” he said, “which is what the auditor recommends having in the fund balance.”

Cebra said, “The point of my questions is that we don’t need that huge of overlay.”

“Looking back over the last two years, it is more than we need. I don’t know how we can justify” the maximum overlay, he said.

A motion was made to set the tax rate at $13.20.

“That is 35 cents lower than the mil rate last year,” Paraschak said.

Prior to the Naples Town Meeting and based on the proposed budget and the Undesignated Fund balance, it was predicted that the tax rate could stay the same or even be reduced.

Still, for some taxpayers, it will be a pleasant surprise.

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