First installment of taxes is due Sept. 12

ELLSWORTH — It’s that time of year again: tax time.

The first installment of the 2020 fiscal year’s tax bill is due this week, by Thursday, Sept. 12. Homeowners would be wise to get bills in before that date, after which they will be charged a 6 percent annual interest rate.

Bills can be paid with checks, money orders or online at

Tax bills in Ellsworth are split in half each year. The second half is due by Thursday, March 12.

Residents who have already glanced at their mailboxes may have noticed that the tax rate is up this year, to $18.81 per $1,000 of valuation. That’s a 3.1 percent increase compared to last year, a total bill of $3,762 on a $200,000 home.

That number could have been a lot higher: increased money from the state for education and more revenue sharing has resulted in bills that are roughly 28 percent lower than initial projections, according to a note on each resident’s bill.

As a brief reminder, the amount of money that must be raised via property taxes is calculated by taking the city’s revenue — how much money it will take in from sources other than property taxes, such as state and federal grants, licensing fees, excise taxes and tax increment financing (TIF) funds — and subtracting that figure from the budget approved by City Council.

In other words: Budget minus revenue equals the amount that must be raised via property taxes.

To determine what each resident will pay, officials take the amount of money that needs to be raised and divide that figure by the valuation (the assessed value of all the property in city limits).

There’s been another change in tax bills compared to last year. In 2019, the majority of taxes (55.81 percent) went to support the school budget, while the next largest chunk (41.89 percent) went to the city. This year, however, the majority (53 percent) will go toward supporting municipal services, while 45.14 percent of the money will support city schools. The county’s share has decreased slightly compared to last year, from 2.3 to 1.86 percent.

Kate Cough

Kate Cough

Kate covers the city of Ellsworth, including the Ellsworth School Department and the city police beat, as well as the towns of Amherst, Aurora, Eastbrook, Great Pond, Mariaville, Osborn, Otis and Waltham. She lives in Southwest Harbor and welcomes story tips and ideas. She can be reached at [email protected]

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