Casco property values to be posted soon

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — Landowners in Casco will soon learn the new value of their properties.

By the end of this week or early next week, people should receive letters of notification in the mail from Vision Government Solutions, Inc.

Also, the results of a two-year-long property revaluation will be accessible on the town’s website,

“All the results may be available as early as (this week) on the website,” Town Manager Dave Morton said on Tuesday.

“So, people can go online and compare theirs with other people’s (property values). The best way to judge whether it is fair or not is to compare it with your neighbor’s” property value, Morton said.

“I would look at mine, and say, ‘Well, my property or home is better than that property or home,” he said.

This comparison could help those less knowledgeable in real estate, he said.

“Some people are very savvy about property values; others of us are not,” he said.

People may be pleased or displeased with the adjusted values — depending on whether they are thinking about their tax bill or trying to sell their property, Morton said.

The letter is in the process of being mailed to property owners. When the letter of notification arrives in the mail, people can schedule an informal hearing, according to Paul McKinnon, with Vision Government Solutions, Inc.

People can schedule a one-on-one informal hearing with Vision staff. Meanwhile, hearings can be conducted via phone or via Internet for seasonal residents who have already left Maine, McKinnon said.

The hearings will begin on Sept. 12. McKinnon predicted that between 200 and 300 residents would set up appointments with Vision.

People will likely schedule a hearing “if they have a question about something or if they think the value might be incorrect. Sometimes, they want to point out a specific error,” he said.

“Also, it allows people to gather more information,” he said.

During a recent interview, McKinnon said that most property values were down, but he could not say by what percentage or which classes of property had fallen in value.

“I cannot disclose that because I am not finished. This is all part of the (revaluation) process,” he said.

“The market is down over the five or six years. But, not all properties went down,” McKinnon said.

According to Morton, the tax bills will be about a month late because they are reliant on the completed revaluation.

“We will be about 30 days late, if everything falls into place. That is my best estimate,” he said.

“We cannot do the tax commitment until we go through the hearings. One of the purposes through the hearings is to see if we missed anything. They won’t have a final adjustment until after their hearings,” Morton said.

For the benefit of the property owners, there are recourses for residents who are not satisfied with the local revaluation after the initial hearing.

After the informal hearing, the property owner — if unsatisfied with the results — can start the ball rolling by requesting a formal abatement with the assessor. The forms for that process will be available at the town office.

If the resident feels the property has been improperly revalued and does not agree with the assessor’s judgment, the next step would be to have the case reviewed before the Cumberland County Board of Assessments. After that, the Superior Court is the final place to appeal a property valuation, Morton said.

The revaluation was prompted by a citizens’ petition, which residents passed by ballot in 2012.

Vision was awarded the revaluation bid for a total cost of $218,500, and received a one-year contract as the town’s assessing firm.


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