Why is the tax rate in Wayland so much higher than comparable towns (e.g., Weston, Wellesley)?

Asked by Jonathan Moran, 02118 Sat Feb 21, 2009

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Matthew Heis…, Agent, Westborough, MA
Tue Feb 24, 2009

This is always a great question for your town manager. I often find that many people do not understand how the entire local tax process works, and everyone who owns a home (even those who rent!) Should know. Let's start with the first side of the equation, the part that most people know: Expenses. Wayland has expenses, schools, police, fire department, other services. The way the town pays for that is through taxes on real estate and private property (like your car's excise tax). Schools usually make up a HUGE percentage of the budget. OK, so what are the sources of REVENUE? Well it's more than just homes. It's also businesses. The more business in your town, the more tax revenue from those business, with an added bonus: Commercial property doesn't increase the need for more schools. So commercial property ADDS revenue, but on a per person (or per capita basis) it lowers costs. OK, so now the answer to your question: Weston and Wellesley are on RT 128, and they both have extensive commercial property that Wayland does not have on a relative basis. So they have more REVENUE per capita, and lower costs, per capita. That means the town needs to collect less money from homeowners, so the tax rate is lower. Both town are also assisted by the fact that their taxes collected per house are more, because the valuations are higher. It has the affect of showing a lower tax rate, even when they collect the same in taxes. I believe, however, that the biggest difference is the collection of commercial property taxes, and the percent of revenue that they make up. It is interesting to note that most people are "for" lower taxes, and "against" commercial development in their respective towns. A town that votes that way consistently will see its tax rate rise, or the quality of its services fall.

Hope that helps!

Matt Heisler
1 vote
Misswooskee, Home Buyer, Wayland, MA
Thu Nov 3, 2016
Wayland please fix the following

1. property tax too high
2. town recycling center: Why pay $140 per vehicle sticker and have to purchase specific orange garbage bags (which are like $2 a piece)- not a friendly town to live in! Plus, fix the town recycling hours...having it open on a Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday doesn't work...if you are having a party on Saturday, you have to wait until Tuesday to take out your trash. In addition, they charge for something like a microwave to toss out...maybe like $15-20. Not friendly
3. Most roads in Wayland need repair
0 votes
Nick, , Arlington, MA
Sat Feb 12, 2011
Once the Town Center is completed Wayland will see a jump in revenue. Prior to the completion of Town Center the New $75 million high school will be open. Wayland was very fortunate in it's planning for the New High School since it did receive around $25 million in state funding - which is no longer going to be available for school construction to other towns. Wayland has always had a private school level of education rapped in a public school system. The new facilities will be far better than anything in surrounding towns, Wellesley, Weston, Lincoln-Sudbury. In the neighborhood I grew up in - the colleges and universities students attended on one side of the street where Yale, Princeton, Bowdoin, Dartmouth and Georgetown. That is only a span of seven houses - no other town and show those statistics. In addition the level and beauty of the area of conservation land can allow for the forgoing of a summer home. Bottomline It is a beautiful town with one of the best education systems in the country that is now developing a large parcel of well planned commercial real estate.
0 votes
Marilyn Mess…, Agent, Concord, MA
Thu Aug 20, 2009
Wayland doesn't have a lot of commercial or industrial properties to help with taxes so residential property carries the tax burden. And, there are fewer residences than Wellesley - zoning and topography make building a challenge. Weston has higher property valuations so the rate is lower. Additionally, many Weston residents pay full taxes but send their kids to private school and that helps with town finances too.
0 votes
Diana Chaplin, Agent, Weston, MA
Sat Aug 1, 2009
Wayland desperately needs to build a new high school, and has no idea how to pay for it -- chances are that Wayland property taxes will be going higher (either through higher rates, higher assessments, or both) in order to pay for it, because this will be a huge one-time expense.

-- Diana Chaplin
Web Reference:  http://greatestate.com
0 votes
Kk, , Lincoln, MA
Sun Jun 28, 2009
As a buyer, we looked at homes in Wayland and were put off by the high annual tax payments. Most homes we looked at were also over-assessed. There might be good reasons why Wayland tax bills are higher, but the bottom line is, when I look at tax assessments online (Zillow etc) for homes in Wayland, the assessed value of the home we purchased in Lincoln would have landed us a yearly tax bill of exactly double in Wayland. That's a lot of extra mortgage payment you can apply to buy better in equally good towns like Concord, Lincoln and Weston.
0 votes
Ed and Margot…, Agent, Wayland, MA
Sat Jun 27, 2009
The answer is that the market price, and the assessment, of a comparable home is less in Wayland than in Weston or Wellesley, for example. The tax rate is higher in Wayland, and the actual tax bill (the product of the tax rate and the assessment) for comparable properties is quite similar. Each town has its virtues. Give is a call and we'll fill you in on all the details.
0 votes
Bon Bon, Home Buyer, Weston, MA
Tue Jun 23, 2009
Matt are you sure about Weston having a lot of commercial property? I have been scouting for home in that town and have been told by the agent that there is hardly any commercial property in town. They have not even allowed a Dunkin Donuts on rt 117 (or so the agent said). Could you describe which commercial real estate are you talking about? Maybe Regis College, which is a non profit? I would like to know this piece of information too.

0 votes
Joan Hathaway, , 01778
Thu Jun 18, 2009
Wayland prides itself on its outstanding school system and has passed the override 3 years in a row. That accounts for a lot of it.
0 votes
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