Some Context on Where Your Tax Bills Stand With Other Towns

By Mike Flaherty | Mar 07, 2014

The following is a smattering of average tax bills from various cities and towns in Massachusetts (from 2011).


The information was retrieved from the following link:


It is shown by Town, Tax bill, State Rank, respectively.


NORTH ANDOVER       $6,161    48

MARION                          $5,357    70

MATTAPOISETT            $5,082    84

HALIFAX                        $4,516    108

SANDWICH                   $4,363    122

PLYMOUTH                  $4,016    144

CARVER                        $3,942    151

BOURNE                        $3,469    196

DARTMOUTH              $3,041    247

BROCKTON                $2,954    251

FAIRHAVEN                $2,592    289

LAWRENCE                $2,397    295

WAREHAM                 $2,333    296


Comments (24)
Posted by: Mike Flaherty | Mar 07, 2014 16:11

Watch out Lawrence.  We're hot on your tail!

Posted by: Mike Flaherty | Mar 07, 2014 16:18

To be fair, what isn't shown here is the impact of the Water District (not sure if these other towns have separate water bills).  For that, Wareham Town Administrator, Derek Sullivan, went into some detail last year.  That information can be found at the following link:

Posted by: Dick Paulsen | Mar 07, 2014 17:03

This is very interesting, but you know what would make if even more interesting, if someone would cross-correlate the  taxes that a group of comparable towns pay and stack that up against one set of numbers that we know exist, the MCAS scores.  And not only the scores, but the trend, up or down.  For example, if on this basis we were doing "better" than some comparable towns (as measured by median tax bill), then my initial reaction would be we are doing a better job, more bang for the buck.  If the contrary were the case, then an opposite conclusion might be reached.  Notice I am temporizing a bit, I wouldn't use this one test as the be-all-and-end all, but rather as a way to make apples-to-apples comparisons.   And also, please note, by suggestion to use median" values.


We are too insular in our approach to town government and the attendant taxes we pay, but go to any town, rich or poor, makes no difference, and they will all say the same thing.  So comparative analysis would be useful, and if you have a better possible correlation, well then be my guest.

Posted by: Andrea Smith | Mar 07, 2014 17:07

Bourne includes the cost of its Fire Department in its tax rate which is $9.46 per $1000 of evaluation for Fiscal Year 2014. It does not include water district rates which vary depending upon the district in which property is owned. Water districts rates are either $0.08, $0.47 or $1.08 per $1000 of evaluation.


If a person owns property in the most expensive water district in Bourne, their tax bill including fire and water would be calculated at a rate of $10.54 per $1000 of evaluation.


Wareham's Fiscal 2014 tax rate of $10.47 does not include fire/water district charges, which are $2.05 per $1000 of evaluation for Wareham and $2.57 per $1000 of evaluation for Onset.


When the cost of water and fire are added to Wareham's tax rate, the bills received are based upon the following costs per $1000 of evaluation:


Wareham  $10.47 plus $2.05 per $1000 of evaluation = $12.52


Onset $10.47 plus $2.57 per $1000 of evaluation = $13.04


Bourne with Fire and highest Water District rate = $10.54


Marion per $1000 of evaluation Fiscal 2014 = $10.59


Rochester per $1000 of evaluation Fiscal 2014 = $13.85


To the best of my knowledge, both Marion and Rochester include Fire Department costs in their per $1000 of evaluation tax rate. Bourne, Marion and Rochester all provide trash pickup.


Regarding Rochester’s tax rate, it should be noted, it took quite a jump in recent years ($300 per average valued house) because of  renovations and an addition to the Rochester Memorial School.


Bourne, Marion and Rochester all provide trash pick up.


Bourne is based upon:

Marion is based upon:

Rochester is based upon:





Posted by: Andrea Smith | Mar 07, 2014 17:18


The median home value in Wareham is $197,600. Wareham home values have gone up 6.0% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 1.4% within the next year. The median list price per square foot in Wareham is $177, which is lower than theBoston Metro average of $213. The median price of homes currently listed in Wareham is $235,000 while the median price of homes that sold is $187,300.






Posted by: WeweANTICS | Mar 07, 2014 18:09

Andrea, Bourne also has some big sources of income, the dump and I believe they own 2 or 3 boat marina's all which bring in millions.

Posted by: Andrea Smith | Mar 07, 2014 19:42

Bourne might also be more thrifty. In 2012 Bourne spent $700 per pupil on "Instructional Leadership." Wareham spent $1250 per pupil. If Wareham had spent $700 per pupil (like Bourne) it would have saved tax payers $550 per student. There were 2996 students in Wareham in 2012. The savings of $550 X 2996 pupils = $1,647,800. Wareham received $307,730 in grant funds for Instructional Leadership in 2012. So the actual savings for tax payers would have amounted to $1,340,070.


Information can be found at :

Posted by: bob | Mar 07, 2014 19:43

bourne,might have 2 marinas , but we are going to have our own town water taxi....ya see how much that going to end up costing the tax payer in a few years...

Posted by: MWF = Make Wareham Fail | Mar 07, 2014 21:55

How about nothing, since the water taxi is paid for with harbor service fees and not taxes.

Posted by: bob | Mar 08, 2014 06:27

mwf,the water taxi,might be coming out of the harbormaster acct.,that is still a dept., that falls under town govt control....and a fee is a tax,any way you slice it...

Posted by: Andrea Smith | Mar 08, 2014 10:06

North Andover - 2011 taxes $6161? Their median household income in 2011 was $91,498? Why compare North Andover to Wareham?

Of the town's you listed Bourne's 2011 median income, $49,705 is the closest to Wareham's median income : $49,608.



Posted by: MWF = Make Wareham Fail | Mar 08, 2014 13:15

No Bob, a fee is NOT a tax.  Owning a house that is taxed is a much more necessary human activity than owning a leisure boat and paying a fee to put it in the water.


If you are having trouble with this concept then ask yourself if you'd rather be homeless or boatless.

Posted by: MWF = Make Wareham Fail | Mar 08, 2014 13:16

"Why compare North Andover to Wareham?"


Everything goes back to Chief Stanley!  It's like the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, LOL.

Posted by: Andrea Smith | Mar 08, 2014 14:12

Distraction….that’s what some of the above comments go back to….an effort to distract attention from Wareham’s tax rate, Wareham’s financial state, Wareham’s override effort….Wareham’s grasp upon property owner’s wallets. “LOL” doesn’t apply to Wareham’s financial situation.

Posted by: MWF = Make Wareham Fail | Mar 08, 2014 14:44

Distraction?  More like humor is the best medicine.

Posted by: Hissing Cobra | Mar 08, 2014 19:16

I see these numbers that have been posted and I'm wondering why they were posted in the first place. Were they posted because tax wise, it's cheaper to live here? Were they posted because Wareham has the lowest tax bills? Or, were they posted because Wareham has a serious shortfall in available money and serious cuts have to be made, thus the prospect of raising taxes to cover that shortfall?


In my life, I've seen all kinds of numbers. Some are good and some are bad. What nobody ever takes into account is that numbers are only numbers and anyone can put numbers down but do they really mean anything? Ten people could put together charts full of numbers about the same subject and there would be ten different charts with ten different sets of numbers. Which ones do you believe?


I could take that list above and say to myself, "I'm glad I live in Wareham because my tax rate is very low." Or I could look on the other side and say to myself, "With all these cuts, the tax rate has to be raised!"


See what I'm saying?


When it comes to taxes and my tax money that I'm contributing, I want to see it go to good things. I want to see it benefit the people of the town as well as myself. I think that's what ALL of us want. The problem is that the Federal Government, the State Government, and the Local governments have taken OUR tax money and they've wasted it for a hundred years.


There are studies done that don't need to be done and therefore waste tax money and there are stupid rules put in place to waste our money (using CPC funds to fix the Tremont Nail Factory while NOT using them to fix the high school roof - I guess you can fix a town owned building that nobody uses but you can't fix a town owned building that everybody uses). These are a couple of examples and there are hundreds more. I won't even get into how "big" government has gotten, which we all know is a huge problem.


The fact is that all of our forms of governments do not know how to be fiscally responsible. For some reason, it's always put on the backs of the tax paying people to continue contributing more and more. When will it end?

Posted by: FogoSister | Mar 08, 2014 20:17

Well said, Hissing.

Posted by: kruther | Mar 09, 2014 14:29

While it is true that numbers do not always give an accurate picture and that numbers can be interpreted to mean vastly different things, the basic question remains the same.  Will this town adequately financially support services that we expect towns to do?   Like laundry and dirty dishes, the battle against fiscal waste is a never ending job. And I know that if I were in charge, I could come up with lots of ways in which tax dollars were spent in a questionable manner for questionable means.  So can everyone else.  The problem is that our lists would not be the same.  And yes, sometimes we have to spend money that others have imposed on us.  None of that, however, negates our civic responsibility to adequately provide for tax dollars to do what is necessary to have at least the bear minimum of town services and we should be setting our goal towards more than that: to be a town that we are proud of.

Posted by: Hissing Cobra | Mar 09, 2014 15:33

What is the bare minimum of town services that are needed and what is the fiscal amount of money needed for those services?

Posted by: Andrea Smith | Mar 11, 2014 16:51

“Some context” regarding Wareham's cost of living index (2012):


"Mar. 2012 cost of living index in Wareham: 266.5 (very high, U.S. average is 100)"


Read more:



Mar. 2012 cost of living index in Bourne: 125.3 (high, U.S. average is 100)

Read more:


Posted by: justin beiber | Mar 11, 2014 17:24



Posted by: Andrea Smith | Mar 11, 2014 18:57

It's official...Wareham's Justin Beiber can be counted among those who can afford to snore.

Posted by: Mike Flaherty | Mar 12, 2014 12:24

Hi Andrea,


When I saw the disparity you posted in the cost of living between Wareham and Bourne, I have to admit I was almost ready to pack my bags and join "MovedToBourne".


But those numbers didn't ring true to me.  How could there be that much of a difference in the cost of living (in the opposite than expected way) when property values are so high in Bourne (and consequently so are avg tax bills there)?  Not only that but we adjoin each other and have access to virtually the same markets (grocery stores, retail outlets, health care facilities, etc).  We probably use the same utility companies too.


Then it was pointed out to me that the figures listed for Bourne are highly questionable (not your fault or intention).


Did you notice at the link you provided that it lists Bourne's population at only 1,418.  

From the link:
Population in 2010: 1,418.
Males: 680
Females: 738

That can't be right.  I think it is more like around 19,000

On the other hand, the population for Wareham at the link you provided did seem to better reflect the reality for our town.

From the link:
Population in July 2009: 21,349.
Males: 10,200   (47.8%)
Females: 11,149  


For what it is worth (and I mean that loosely), I came across another similar site that offered the following information.

Population 1,418 (same a what you provided)
Cost of Living index: 143


Population 21,822
Cost of living index: 123


With regard to the cost of living figures at the "bestplaces" links, they are more of what I would expect to see.  Though I wouldn't bet my life on these numbers either.  I'm just providing them here for more "context".


Posted by: Andrea Smith | Mar 12, 2014 17:11

Thanks Mike. What a weird population count for Bourne. Maybe it's just one small village area?

Found the 2010 U.S. census population for Bourne: 19,754

and for

Wareham: 21,822

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