Oxford preparing for property revaluation


OXFORD – Town officials are planning to have all properties revalued in the coming years.

The property revaluation is long overdue, said Town Manager Michael Chammings. The most recent assessment was done in 1989. Most properties in the town have not been looked at since, Chammings said.

Chammings said the project will cost about $200,000; voters approved $100,000 for it at town meeting.

Selectmen will put the project out to bid soon and have a figure by March 1. They will then seek approval for the remainder of the cost at the June annual town meeting.

Chammings said waterfront properties have increased in value the most, so those owners will be affected the most.

According to information given to the town by assessors’ agent Donna Moore Hays, a revaluation is done to value property fairly and tax evenly.

When an appraiser comes in, he or she will use one or more of three methods to determine the property’s worth, according to Hays. Appraisers will either compare the projected selling price to similar property types, determine how much it would take in materials and labor to replace a building, minus how much a building has depreciated, or evaluate how much income a property would bring in if it were rented.

Revaluations are carried out in five stages, according to Hays. While working, appraisers carry badges, a letter from the town and have their cars listed with both the town office and the police. The stages are:

1. Data collection: Appraisers inspect all properties.

2. Market analysis: Compare land values based on analyzing the real estate market.

3. Valuation: Individual characteristics of each building are taken into account, and a final estimate is determined for each piece of property.

4. Field review: The process of checking and rechecking the determined values and data.

5. Informal hearings: Property owners will be notified of the valuations, and will have the opportunity to discuss it with a member of the revaluation company.

If the property owner doesn’t feel the assessment is fair after the informal hearings, Hays’ information states, they may appeal the decision to selectmen, and then to county commissioners.

According to Chammings’ letter to Hays, the town has been certified at 68 percent, and can add 10 percent. Residential properties are at 73 percent of market value and commercial properties are at 79 percent. Waterfront is assessed at 46 percent.

“It is unusual for a town to go as long as we have and still maintain fair and equitable assessments,” Chammings wrote in his letter to Hays. “It is only in the past few years when all real estate in Maine started skyrocketing in value that our overall ratio decreased.”