Tax bills are out in Oak Bluffs, the only town on the Island that has set its tax rate yet this year, and the result is a mixed bag. Some property owners report seeing only a slight change in their tax bill from last year, while others are experiencing mild sticker shock as they see their taxes rise.

“I was shocked,” said Oak Bluffs resident John Banks, who opened his tax bill last week and learned that the property assessment for his Sengekontacket home went up about 16 per cent, resulting in a tax bill that is about 22 per cent higher than last year.

Upon talking to neighbors, Mr. Banks said, assessments were “all over . . . . Some went down, some went up, some stayed the same.” So far, he said, his tax bill shows the biggest increase that he’s heard about, and he plans to file for an abatement.

The deadline for filing abatement applications is Feb. 1.

Last week, Oak Bluffs selectmen heralded the good news that the town had sent out its property tax bills, becoming the first town on the Island to set a tax rate for the coming year. Principal assessor Dianne Wilson said this week that overall property values in Oak Bluffs dropped two per cent from last year, but a townwide revaluation led to increases for some properties, especially pricier homes with water views.

The property tax rate increased 36 cents, to $7.39 per $1,000 in property value; last year the rate was $7.03 per $1,000. Ms. Wilson called the jump significant.

“I hate to see it go up that high,” she said, noting that the increase was needed to cover the town budget in the cash-strapped town. With an increase in the tax rate, taxpayers who have an increase in property value will “see a significant jump in [their] tax bill,” Ms. Wilson said.

Approximately 80 per cent of the town’s fiscal year 2013 $24.35 million operating budget will be paid from property taxes.

The average Oak Bluffs single-family home fell in value by about $5,000 from $546,871 last year to $541,565 this year, Ms. Wilson said. Total town property valuations fell from almost $2.65 billion last year to a little more than $2.58 billion this year.

The result of the townwide revaluations is that higher-end properties, those worth roughly more than $800,000, are going to see tax increases, Ms. Wilson said. “Especially if they are anywhere near the water,” she said. Land values also increased.

Generally, those with property worth less than $500,000 saw their property values drop, Ms. Wilson said.

Interim town administrator Robert Whritenour downplayed the increase in the tax rate.

“The one thing that I would say is that the Department of Revenue really insists on a very sound statistical analysis of the property values,” he said. Any increases “were based on the proper methodology, and overall, it’s a good sign for the economy.”

Mr. Whritenour reiterated that he was “very happy to see that this year the tax rate was set exactly on time.” He also said taxpayers in Oak Bluffs “can expect to see their taxes remain stable,” noting that town officials had worked hard to balance the fiscal year 2013 budget with no Proposition 2 1/2 overrides.

He encouraged any town residents with questions about their tax bill to meet with assessors so they can understand the process.

Ms. Wilson agreed, encouraging taxpayers to file abatement applications as soon as possible if they decide to choose that route.

She also said that the town is no longer contracting with Vision Appraisal to help prepare the town property assessments, but has switched to Cartography Associates Inc. Other Island towns will also be making the switch, she said, calling it a “really great program.” There is a link to the new appraisal database on the board of assessors page at the Oak Bluffs Web site.

As of Jan. 19, no other Vineyard town had a tax rate certified by the state Department of Revenue.

In Edgartown, estimated third-quarter tax bills have gone out with a note to taxpayers explaining that the townwide revaluation “has taken longer than anticipated, and a tax rate cannot be sent in time to mail final tax bills by Dec. 31.” Property value information will be included on the fourth-quarter bills, which the town expects to mail out by late March.

The Department of Revenue Web site reports this week that tax rates have been approved for 331 of the 353 cities and towns in the commonwealth. At $7.39, the Oak Bluffs rate ranks among the lowest of the rates listed on the site.