Revaluation question on the ballot
The constitution of the state of Maine requires that assessors conduct a general revaluation of property at least every 10 years.
The last town-wide revaluation in Scarborough took place in 2005. That process, 10 years ago, was a statistical update of values town-wide. Physical inspections of all properties were not done at that time. Annual adjustments have been made since 2005 to maintain equity, but a revaluation with full inspections has not been conducted in over 20 years.
The proposed revaluation question on the November ballot is a full inspection revaluation. This process would provide the opportunity to audit the physical inventory of property in town, creating a solid base for tax assessment purposes.
Current, accurate assessment data is crucial in determining equitable assessments, which allow us to make sure that no taxpayer is required to pay more or less than their fair share of the tax burden.
Locally our office does not have the staffing required to undertake a project of this magnitude “in house”, so we are looking to outsource this service as several other communities routinely do.
A company specializing in revaluations has experienced staff on their payroll, while we would have to incur the expense of hiring and training people. The estimated cost of the full, town-wide, physical inspection revaluation is $439,500.
Regardless of how it is paid, bond or operating budget, a referendum vote is required to appropriate the funds required to pay for the project. If the November bond referendum passes, the work will be done in 2015 and the new valuations should be in place for the April 1, 2016 assessment date.
If it does not pass, the town council will have to add the revaluation to the fiscal 2016 operating budget, delaying the completion date until April 1, 2017.
Please feel free to contact the Scarborough Assessing Office with any questions at 730-4060.
William Healey is tax assessor for Scarborough.