Revenue, recycling rates looking up

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LIVERMORE FALLS – With state revenue sharing projections higher than anticipated and the SAD 36 assessment expected to be lower than last year, the average taxpayer in town should see a decline in their property tax bills, Town Manager Martin Puckett said Thursday.

However, it looks like assessors may have to increase assessments on property across the board again this year due to real estate selling for more than what the town assessed it, Puckett said.

Puckett reviewed figures for revenue sharing, valuations and the highest adjusted recycling rate ever received by the town with selectmen Monday.

Puckett had estimated the state revenue sharing at $472,513, but recent projections for municipal revenue sharing from the state for fiscal 2008 is $550,207.94, which is $60,111.85 more than last year.

Puckett also said that the assessing agent has pointed out that the town has assessed property at 73 percent of what 74 properties have sold for on the real estate market.

Since it hasn’t been 10 years since a townwide revaluation and the real estate market has increased so greatly, the town would need to increase valuation on all properties in town, he said.

Last year, selectmen increased valuations across the board by 6 percent to bring them up to a state-accepted level so the town could grant the full Homestead Exemption, among other exemptions approved by the state.

The assessing agent has recommended the town start putting money away for another revaluation, Puckett said.

Selectmen in their assessors capacity will decide how much of a percentage the valuation should be increased when they set the tax rate, Puckett said.

In other news, Puckett said the adjusted recycling rate for 2006 was 44 percent compared to 37.2 percent in 2005. The highest rate the town had previously received was 40.9 percent in 1993.

In an update on painting the welcome sign on Bridge Street, Puckett said Thursday, he spoke with the owner of the Belgrade company who made the signs and discovered they have branched out in their business and no longer make signs.

It was unsure at Monday’s meeting whether the sign could be repainted without infringing on copyrights.

The company owner said the sign could be repainted and also gave tips on the process, Puckett said.

Artist Heidi Wilde of Livermore Falls received approval from selectmen Monday to donate her time to repaint the sign with the town picking up the cost of the paint.

The signs made by Livermore Falls Middle School students in the early 1990s will be kept until selectmen decide what to do with them, Puckett said. Resident Cora Briggs had asked for the “Catch Ya Later” sign if the town didn’t want it anymore.

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