Assessor unveils personal property inventory numbers during workshop

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — The tax rate will be officially set by the Naples Board of Selectmen at the end of August.

That will be done during an Aug. 30 meeting, which was scheduled especially for this purpose, according to Chairman Bob Caron II.

By law, the board needs to set the Naples’ tax rate, which is currently $13.50.

The arrival of this annual process means that in the coming weeks, Naples residents will be receiving their 2016–17 tax bills.

Also, on the upcoming selectmen’s agenda is a discussion about setting a threshold for personal property tax bills, which is entirely different than real estate property tax bills.

What has been recommended to the board by the town assessor is a cutoff of $1,000 in assessed value for personal property. So, businesses with less than $1,000 worth of equipment may not receive a personal property tax bill from the town. That outcome depends on the upcoming vote on Aug. 30 — if such a motion is put on the floor.

On Monday, the selectmen held a workshop with the town’s assessing firm, John O’Donnell & Associates. Employees Paul Binette and Mike O’Donnell answered questions.

About 15 people attended Monday’s meeting, compared to the three or four residents who show up regularly. The workshop, which began at 6 p.m., lasted about 40 minutes.

Chairman Caron spoke at the beginning of the workshop.

“This workshop is not for people to come in and complain about the personal property tax. This is for them (O’Donnell & Associates) to bring back the numbers,” Caron said.

“In the next two weeks, we will put together a proposal for a mechanism” to collect the personal property tax, he said.

Primarily, the workshop was to discuss the results of the personal property accounts’ inventory. In recent months, some members of the board have favored ramping up the public awareness and collection of the personal property tax.

There are 201 personal property accounts, according to O’Donnell. Most of those are businesses, but some of the accounts are for campers or travel trailers, he said.

“There is $6.3 million in total value — that is a moving number,” he said.

The majority of business owners who were sent inventory lists filed the list with the town. For those people who did not file a list, values were assigned based on similar businesses, he said.

According to both Binette and O’Donnell, the businessowners who had values assigned negated their rights to appeal the assessments of their personal property tax.

“Your right to appeal is barred,” O’Donnell said.

“But, we would still like you to come in and get the values correct. We want to keep the door open and talk about value. We extrapolated values, and we would like to get real numbers,” he said.

O’Donnell also talked about the cutoff for sending out property tax bills.

Since the tax rate is applied to the assessed value of personal property, $1,000 of value would produce a bill for about $13.

“If we drew it below $1,000, 40 accounts would drop off the list. If we go to $2,000, a lot more would drop off. That would undermine the purpose of the project,” O’Donnell said.

“The logical cutoff point would be $1000,” he said.

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