JAY – As of Wednesday afternoon, 121 people had made appointments to sit down with the town’s assessing agents to discuss new property valuations.

Some people are upset about their increased values, like Al Landry, who saw his ranch-style home and land on Route 133 jump from a value of $63,000 last year to $129,000 this year.

Others think the new values are fair.

On Friday, about 2,800 letters were mailed to taxpayers informing them of the valuations calculated by the assessing firm John O’Donnell & Associates of New Gloucester.

The firm conducted an exterior revaluation of the properties – except for industrial property that is being done by another firm – over the past year.

The last revaluation was done in 1996.

Agents will sit down with property owners this week and next.

There is still time for appointments on Tuesday, Aug. 22, and Wednesday, Aug. 23, Deputy Town Clerk Jill Gingras said Wednesday.

“We’ve had people who said they thought the values are very fair,” Town Manager Ruth Marden said Wednesday, but there also are people who are not happy, she added.

People need to ask themselves would they sell their property for this amount, or more or less, because the valuations are based on fair market value, Marden said.

“I understand people’s frustrations,” she said, but the fact is a lot of work and consideration was put into these values and if people are not happy they should call and make an appointment.

“We projected in an average reval that 10 percent of the people would want to make an appointment” to review values, she said.

Some people are very vocal about their values and Marden has one person coming in Thursday who wants to call a special selectmen’s meeting next week to discuss the issue.

“But under the law, unless it is an emergency, a meeting has to be posted for seven days and this really isn’t an emergency,” Marden said. “I really urge people to go through the process and compare their property values to other property values.”

Nothing can be done unless they go through the process, she said.

“We may very well find that there are issues and then again, we may find there aren’t,” Marden said.

Unfortunately, what’s happening in Lewiston where officials have suspended revaluation results until they resolve some issues, people want to do here, she said.

“If we do not follow through with this … we’re going to have to drop the valuation of industrial property and people’s tax bills will go up dramatically,” Marden said.

“State law says every property must be taxed at the same rate and industrial property is being taxed at 100 percent and residential values have flipped and this is an equalization process to have everybody taxed at the same rate.”

Landry said if he cannot get a meeting set up with selectmen next week, he’s going to call a taxpayers’ meeting at the middle school.

The next regular selectmen’s meeting is Monday, Aug. 28.

“I’ve talked to a lot of people and a lot of people are upset with the amount,” Landry said Wednesday. “I don’t think it is fair at all. They are valued too high.”

Resident Hyla Friedman concurred with Landry that the general consensus is people are not happy. The value of the house she lives in on Skyline Drive has increased significantly, she said.

Landry said he went to the town office Wednesday and was told the valuations were based on fair market value.

“I don’t believe I’d be able to sell my house for that amount. It’s over 50 years old,” he said.


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