Brunswick chooses contractor for property revaluation

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BRUNSWICK — The town has selected KRT Appraisals of Haverhill, Massachusetts, to conduct a long-overdue property revaluation.

Town Manager John Eldridge said Wednesday that staff chose KRT over a competing proposal from Vision Appraisal, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, for several reasons.

Although KRT’s proposed price of $365,000 was also about $10,000 below Vision Appraisal’s bid, Eldridge said the choice was made on a scale of criteria, including qualifications and experience, project approach and schedule.

The bids came in after the Town Council in September authorize borrowing $400,000 to cover the cost of the project.

Brunswick’s current tax rate is $28.36 per $1,000 of assessed value.

But that rate is not based on accurate data, according to the town assessor’s office. State law says a town must conduct a property tax revaluation if its ratio of assessed property falls below 70 percent of market value.

Brunswick’s ratio is 64 percent, and the town has not conducted a revaluation in 17 years.

That means some properties are being taxed at a rate higher than their actual value, while some, especially structures on waterfront or that that have been renovated, are being taxed at a lower rate.

Eldridge said the revaluation will almost certainly drive the tax rate down, because the total value of assessed property will go up. “But that doesn’t mean individual bills” will definitely go down, he added.

As a general rule of thumb, tax assessors say a revaluation will result in one-third of property taxes going up, one-third going down and one-third staying the same, according to Town Assessor Cathy Jamison.

Jamison told the Town Council at the Feb. 16 meeting that KRT’s work would start in early March and last two years.

“The process will be to look at every property, go out and do an interior inspection of it, review it, do measurements,” she said.

Notices would go out in July 2017.

“At that point taxpayers (and) homeowners will be able to review the new numbers, have a process where they can come in and talk to us about their new value, and then we’ll complete the process and have it done for Sept. 1 of 2017,” she said.

Anyone with questions about the revaluation process can call the assessor’s office at 725-6650.

Walter Wuthmann can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or Follow Walter on Twitter: @wwuthmann.

Brunswick/Harpswell reporter for The Forecaster. Bowdoin College grad, San Francisco Bay Area native. Follow for municipal, school, community, and environmental news from the Midcoast.