May 25, 2018
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St. Agatha to change assessment process

By Jen Lynds, BDN Staff

ST. AGATHA, Maine — As homeowners make improvements to their houses with additions, decks and patios to increase the comfort and value of their homes, some go about it without getting building permits from their town, which can result in tax bills lower than what they might be.

Now, St. Agatha officials have come up with a way to determine the value of buildings to assure that everyone pays their fair share of taxes.

Town Manager Ryan Pelletier said Thursday that the St. Agatha Board of Selectmen has created a process to have the local assessor’s agent visit 25 percent of all building properties in the community each year. The inspections will come in addition to the annual field inspections conducted to review property improvements identified through building permits that have been issued by town officials.

“This is something we have been discussing and we got input about from the town’s contracted assessor,” Pelletier explained. “The last time that we did a municipal revaluation was in 1993.”

Pelletier added that town officials do not believe the town’s valuation is skewed from the state’s valuation of the town, but officials realize that property values may have changed over the past decade.

“We feel that we need to visit properties to see if work was done without building permits,” he added. “If that is the case, it puts an unfair burden on those who have gotten the permit.”

The manager said selectmen want to assure that officials are treating all taxpayers equally and fairly in the assessing process.

Selectmen met recently with Bob Gingras from Parker Appraisal Service, the town’s contracted assessor for the past 25 years, to review options to improve the town’s assessing process. Gingras recommended the random field inspection process.

Pelletier explained that the town has 14 property maps. Town officials divided the town into four quadrants and drew lots to pick which quadrant would be inspected first.

“There is roughly the same number of building properties in each of the four quadrants, so each year a fourth of the building properties will be visited by the assessor,” he continued.

The first quadrant to be inspected includes sections of Main Street from the Town Office to the St. Agatha Federal Credit Union, along with parts of Cleveland Road and Brook Road as well as the Flat Mountain area.

The inspections are set to begin in early to mid-June.

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