Commissioners grant tax abatement to country club owner

Posted April 22, 2010, at 9:57 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 12 p.m.

DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Piscataquis County commissioners on Tuesday agreed with the owner of the Katahdin Country Club in Milo, who said some of his acreage was overvalued.

Owner Judson Gerrish testified last month that the valuation on 45 acres of property he owned was $67,700 and the valuation on his buildings which included a house and barn was $112,750 for a total value of $180,450.

After a townwide revaluation was conducted in 2008 by Hamlin Associates of Parkman, the first since 1988, Gerrish’s land valuation increased in 2009 to $296,880 and the valuation on the buildings was set at $165,730, for a total value of $462,610. His annual tax increase jumped from $4,228 to $8,587.

Gerrish believed the increase in value of the 45 acres was unfair since his course is only a short, nine-hole course and there was not enough land to expand to 18 holes.

When his appeal to local officials was denied, Gerrish filed an abatement request with the commissioners. A hearing was held on the matter last month.

In his presentation, Gerrish included comparisons of other country clubs in the region and said if his facility were valued at the average of $1,822 an acrefor the five comparison courses, his land value would be $81,990.

Liz Morin of Hamlin Associates said during the hearing that only 20 of the 45 acres could be attributed to the golf course itself. The remainder, a 1-acre house lot, was valued at $20,000, 4 acres with the house were valued at $7,000, and the remainder of the 20 acres was priced as excess acreage at $500 an acre, all of which was consistent with Milo’s land schedule, she said. The assessed value of the 20-acre course was set at $259,880.

In their review, the commissioners found an error had occurred in a mathematical computation that reduced the assessed value of the 20-acre course to $236,490. In addition, they said they found enough evidence in the comparison of other golf courses to show that Gerrish’s property was substantially overvalued.

The commissioners placed the new value for the 20-acre, nine-hole golf course at $149,625, an abatement of $110,255 from the town’s original assessment of $259,880 for the golf course land. That move reduced the total value of Gerrish’s property from $462,610 to $352,355.

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