Property tax bills went out this month on Martha’s Vineyard, and while seasonal and year-round homeowners continue to pay less relative to the value of their homes than most of their commonwealth counterparts on the mainland, their tax burden will be heavier this year.

The average tax bill for a single-family home on the Vineyard is $5,707, up $272 over 2015, though there is wide variation among the six towns. The increase for the average Chilmark homeowner is about three per cent, or $152, while the tab for average homeowner in Edgartown jumped by almost nine per cent, or $368.

Vineyard tax rates by town, five-year trend from 2012-2016.

The increase has been driven largely by expanding town budgets. Property taxes are the main source of funding for schools, public safety, road maintenance and other town budget items that are approved each year by voters at town meeting.

Under a state law passed by ballot proposition in 1980, towns are limited from increasing property taxes by more than two and a half per cent per year. But voters can override the provisions of Proposition 2 1/2 for specific purposes — and Island towns frequently do.

“Cities and towns are more reliant on property tax to fund municipal services than any time since 1981,” said Geoffrey Beckwith, executive director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, this week.

For the first time in seven years, the tax rate in every Vineyard town went up, from as much as 6.1 per cent in West Tisbury to as little as 1.9 per cent in Oak Bluffs. At the same time, the total assessed value of Island real estate increased modestly, from a fraction of a percentage in Aquinnah and Chilmark to 4.8 per cent in Oak Bluffs.

Property taxes are arrived at by applying the town’s tax rate to the assessed valuation of every property.

Tax rates in Island towns were approved last fall. The fiscal year begins in July but for the first two quarters, tax bills are estimated. Third quarter bills that went out in January reflect the actual tax rate. Property owners have a small window of time to apply for abatements; the deadline in most towns in Feb. 1. Information about filing an abatement is not easily available on town web sites; state tax officials suggest contacting the town assessors’ office.

Each Island town faces its own challenges in raising the money needed to deliver town services through property taxes. In relative terms, residents of Tisbury and Oak Bluffs pay more in taxes for similarly-valued property than their Island neighbors. Geography and build-out tell part of the story.

“We are one of the most urban towns on the Island, and we are in many ways close to being built out,” Tisbury selectman and board chairman Tristan Israel said of his town. “The ability to expand that kind of tax base is limited. Obviously spending and voting for expenditures play into it. I think that our finance committee is one of the most active on the Island and has worked very hard to contain our local costs.”

Chilmark ranks among lowest on Island and in state for property taxes. — Mark Lovewell

The average tax bill in Tisbury this year went up $175, to $7,370. Mr. Israel said he has heard a little more than the normal amount of complaints about tax hikes this year. He also noted that voters have some tough decisions to make in the next few years — including whether to build a new school — that could significantly increase tax bills.

Tax increases vary not only from town to town, but from neighborhood to neighborhood.

“When we talk about rates going up and values going up we are making a generalization about the entire town,” said Alan Gowell, an elected assessor in Edgartown. “For instance, waterfront properties are frequently selling for more than the assessed value. Some of our nicer neighborhoods, sellers are getting higher prices. But it is not a generalization you can make about every neighborhood.”

A number of other elected officials contacted, including assessors, were reluctant to answer questions.

This year Chilmark property owners will pay $2.71 per $1,000 of assessed value. Edgartown property owners will pay $3.62; their counterparts in Aquinnah will pay $5.35; West Tisbury residents will pay $6.06; Oak Bluffs residents will pay $8.11, and Tisbury property owners will pay $9.16.

Tax rates for Island towns still rank among the lowest of all cities and towns in Massachusetts. According to last year’s certified tax rates, four of the six towns are among the bottom 10.

Data from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue shows Chilmark had the second lowest tax rate in the commonwealth in 2015. Edgartown had the fourth lowest tax rate, while Aquinnah had the eighth lowest, and West Tisbury was ranked ninth lowest in the state.

Tisbury has some of the highest tax bills on the Island. — Mark Lovewell

Oak Bluffs ranks number 25 on the list of lowest tax rates, while Tisbury comes in at number 31.

Because of high property values on the Vineyard, the ranking of towns by the average residential family tax bill in 2015 presents a different picture, according to DOR data. Using that measure, all but one of the Island towns are in the top half of the 338 cities and towns ranked. Some of the state’s 351 municipalities, mostly large cities, are not compared in DOR data.

Although the numbers can be crunched in various ways, in general terms, year-round working families on the Island pay substantially less in taxes than their mainland neighbors. The many seasonal homes, including large waterfront homes, push the average tax burden higher.

For working families, many of whom earn modest wages and often struggle to stay afloat with the high cost of living on the Island, that is a good thing. Large vacation homes carry most of the burden and demand few municipal services.

In Tisbury the owner of a single family home valued at $750,000 will pay about $6,870 in taxes this year. In Oak Bluffs the tax bill for the same home will be about $6,083. In West Tisbury it will be about $4,545, and in Aquinnah it will be $4,013. In Edgartown the same homeowner will pay about $2,715 in taxes, while in Chilmark the number is $1,973.

By comparison, a home assessed at $750,000 in Hingham would pay $9,398 in property taxes, $11,145 in Lexington and $11,700 in Duxbury.