Maine Mall tax appeal delayed

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SOUTH PORTLAND — An administrative hearing scheduled for April 8 in Augusta for the owners of the Maine Mall to appeal their 2006 property tax bill has been delayed.

Attorneys for the mall’s owners, General Growth Properties, and the city are working to rescheduled the hearing, which will now likely be conducted this summer or early fall. 

GGP is seeking a more than $900,000 tax refund because it believes the city over-assessed the mall and several nearby properties in 2006 by about $70 million.

Following a citywide revaluation in 2006, the city assessed GGP’s mall-area properties for $266 million. However, GGP argues the assessment includes non-real estate aspects of the mall and has presented an alternative assessment that values the properties at $198 million. 

GGP’s appeals were denied both by city Assessor Elizabeth Sawyer and the city’s Board of Assessment Review. The latter denied the appeal because GGP could not provide an expert to testify about the company’s alternative assessment. 

GGP will eventually present its case to the state Board of Property Tax Review, whose 15 members are appointed by the governor.

A five-member panel, consisting of a lawyer, real estate agent, engineer, retired assessor and member of the public, could hear GGP’s appeal, although a quorum is reached with only three members. 

Randy Billings can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or