Brunswick property revaluation is about to get real

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BRUNSWICK — New estimated property valuations will be mailed to taxpayers July 18.

The assessments, which taxpayers have the right to appeal, mark the beginning of the end of the town’s ongoing property revaluation, which assessors from KRT Appraisal said they hope to complete by mid-August.

The Town Council voted for the revaluation in September 2015, at a cost of $400,000. The decision was made because of valuation inequities that developed over the 20 years since the town’s last revaluation.

The revaluation will redistribute taxes “to create uniformity and fairness,” Ken Rogers of KRT told the council via Skype at a June 29 meeting. In other words, some property owners will see their tax bill rise, while others will fall, resulting in a net zero change in revenue for the town.

The council expected at the meeting to preview some of the major trends in shifting values – particularly in the category of single-family homes – although Rogers said the myriad attributes that get calculated into the revaluation formula prevented him from offering a general summary.

“It’s so hard to pinpoint on an individual basis,” Rogers told Councilor Sarah Brayman, who had asked him to characterize any obvious trends. “There’s just too many characteristics that affect that change.”

Those characteristics include everything from the location of a home, to dimensions and features, and the conditions of those features, he said. Over the past year, KRT has collected that information through surveys of the interior and exterior of every home in town.

Brunswick real estate is taxed at approximately 70 percent of market value, but after the revaluation, it will be taxed at 100 percent market value. Correspondingly, the town’s tax rate will decrease.

For the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the town’s tax rate was $29.35 per $1,000 of valuation. The new tax rate and valuations will affect the first round of tax bills in fiscal year 2018, due in October.

In an email Monday, town assessor Cathy Jamison said the mailed revaluation notices will include an estimated tax amount, based on an estimated tax rate.

The final tax rate won’t be finalized until after the revaluation wraps up at the end of August; that calculus, Jamison said, also needs to take into account other town revenues, expenses, and state reimbursements.

After they receive their notices – all of which will be public and posted on the town website – taxpayers have until Aug. 11 to appeal or ask questions about their estimated valuation with KRT. 

Following that period, Rogers said KRT will synthesize the feedback and send out a second set of notices, indicating any changes; those will likely be sent mid-August, he said.

Callie Ferguson can be reached at 781-3661, ext. 100, or cferguson@theforecaster.net. Follow Callie on Twitter:@calliecferguson.

Brunswick Town Hall

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Reporting on municipal, school, and community news in Brunswick and Harpswell. Bowdoin graduate, Wild Oats sandwich-eater. Callie can be reached at 207-781-3661 ext. 100, or cferguson@theforecaster.net.
  • Chew H Bird

    Hopefully KRT actually responds in a timely and professional manner to any questions, comments, or complaints. KRT failed to do so during the inspection phase of properties, re-directed questions to the Town, (which re-directed questions back to KRT). So far, KRT has provided horrifying customer service, redirected questions, provided extremely limited time frames for the residents to work with KRT, and has basically been a customer service nightmare. Hopefully they do better this time around.