FARMINGTON — For the first time in at least 14 years, Carrabassett Valley holds the highest state-certified valuation in Franklin County, according to Maine Revenue Services data going back to 2006.

Jay had held the highest valuation for those years, but fell to second place this year.

Carrabassett Valley’s state valuation increased by almost $22.1 million, to $622.6 million. 

Jay’s state valuation is almost $549 million, a decrease of $61 million from last year.

Jay’s lower valuation is attributed to the downsizing at Verso Corp.’s Androscoggin Mill. The company had shut down two paper machines and other equipment, but announced in February 2018 it would be putting the No. 3 paper machine and associated equipment back online.

Once the full valuation of the No. 3 machine is realized, Jay’s state valuation is expected to increase, Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere said earlier this month. 

Last year, the difference between the valuations of Jay and Carrabassett Valley was $9.55 million. 

Jay’s lower valuation has also contributed to Franklin County’s state-certified valuation declining for the third consecutive year. 

The county’s overall valuations for 2019 are:

• $4.35 billion for towns and unorganized territory.

• $4.01 billion for the towns.

$342.8 million for the unorganized territory, up about $6.5 million since 2018, according to Maine Revenue Services’ data.

Last year, the overall state valuation for the county was $4.37 billion.

State valuation is based on real estate sale prices and new building within a community, according to Carrabassett Valley Town Manager Dave Cota.

“While we do continue to see approximately $4 million to $5 million of new construction and renovations a year within our community, we are also seeing increasing sale prices,” he said.

The State Property Tax Division does an annual ‘Sales Ratio Study’ in every community in Maine, he said. The state compares the sale price of the properties that have sold in the past year with the town’s assessed value on those properties.

“In comparison with other towns in Franklin County, (Carrabassett Valley) sale prices have probably risen higher in our community,” Cota said.

This coupled with continued growth here in Carrabassett Valley have led to the town’s increased state valuation, he said.

The economies in southern Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts are doing well, which has led to more people buying second homes at Sugarloaf, Cota said.

It has seemingly led to higher second-home prices here in Carrabassett Valley, he said.

It also helps that Sugarloaf, Carrabassett Valley and local clubs and businesses have made investments that have continued to “grow our off-season offerings” and led to increasing demand for second homes in Carrabasset Valley, he said.

Rangeley held on to the third-highest valuation in the county, at $521.1 million, despite an $8.5 million decrease from 2018.

The annual state-certified valuations show the equalized and adjusted values of all taxable property in each municipality as of April 1, two years prior, according to the Maine Revenue Service’s website.

The state valuation affects communities’ county taxes,  state revenue-sharing and school assessments, LaFreniere said Wednesday.

Fourteen county towns increased in value this year while seven decreased.

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