Challenged reporting

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The Lewiston tax assessor’s office should be commended for completing the daunting tax of revaluation. Are there some errors? Undoubtedly. Unfortunately, your mathematically challenged newspaper staff feeds the flame of taxpayer ire with its reporting.

Yes, most valuations went up. I own two homes in Lewiston. One increased by about $100,000, or about 71 percent, but my projected tax bill is only about $300 higher, roughly 7.8 percent. The other one went up $71,000, or 87 percent, with the projected tax increase of about $500, or 22 percent.

Do I think that is fair? Yes. Both houses are worth at least what the city has valued them at.

Mr. Girard’s assessment, so prominently featured on page one of the paper, did not go up 300 percent. The actual valuation increase was $71,000, or 182 percent, and, by my rough calculations, his new tax without any homestead exemptions will be about $1,900 – an increase of about $800, or 72 percent.

Yes, that is a lot of money, but I’m certain Girard would rather sell his house for $110,000 than $39,000. With rents for similar-sized apartments going in the $800-per-month range, living in that house is still a bargain.

The Maine Tax and Rent Refund Program will probably give him a substantial chunk of that increase back.

The newspaper is pretty good at using words to get the public worked up. We wouldn’t want to have the real numbers get in the way of a good story.

Judith A. Gervais, Lewiston

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