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Town Revaluation Underway

KRT Appraisals will be conducting a town-wide revaluation starting July 8 and continuing throughout the summer.

Meet the Data Collectors (and their vehicles):
Gerry PhotoGerrys vehicles

Pat's PhotoPat's Car

These are the most FAQs I have received regarding the revaluation:
Why are we doing this?
As everyone knows, the cost of houses and land have increased dramatically, especially over the last 4 or 5 years. The last time we had a town-wide revaluation was 2002. In 2007 we increased building values 15%. Now we are at the point where our assessments are half of what properties are selling for (certified ratio = 50%). If the values of all properties rose equally, then we could just raise all the assessments by the same percentage. But for example, in our area the value of shore front properties rose faster than other properties. The purpose of this revaluation is to make sure everyone is paying their fair share and no more.
How does the revaluation process work? Video

Will they be contacting me to make an appointment to see my house?
No. Trying to set up appointments with every homeowner in town would be a logistical nightmare and would drastically increase the time (and cost) it would take to perform the revaluation. So they rely on seeing enough of the homes that are occupied to establish baselines to enable them to make assumptions in similar houses that they were not able to get in.
Do I have to let them in?
No. In fact many homes are vacant during the day and the data collectors will be limited to an exterior inspection. However if you are home, it would be very helpful if you could allow them to take a brief tour of your house. A thorough evaluation involves seeing both the outside and the inside of the house. One factor in establishing the value of a structure is the grade or quality of the construction, which can be difficult to do from the outside (e.g. are the floor joists 2"x 8" or 2" x 10"? hardwood or vinyl flooring? laminated or granite countertops? typical plumbing fixtures or gold plated?). By allowing them to look at the interior of your house, you will improve the quality of your assessment and of the overall revaluation. More Info here.
What if my house is messy when they show up?
You do not have to let them in your house, but bear in mind that this is what these people do every day and they have seen everything. They will not even notice - much less care - if your house is in disarray. If they're looking at your floor, it is to determine what material it is, not whether it needs vacuuming. If they're looking at your counters it is to determine the countertop material, not to marvel at the half-eaten PB & J. Based on my own experience as an assessor (which is minuscule compared to these guys), when in someone's house you are so focused on looking for the information you need, you truly do not see the socks on the floor or the unmade bed. On the other hand if you have rotting corpses stored in your basement, it would probably be best for everyone if you deny entry.
Does this mean my taxes are going up?
Maybe, maybe not. In fact there is roughly a 66% chance your taxes will not go up. The rule of thumb for revaluations is that about a third of us will see an increase in taxes, a third will stay about the same, and a third will go down. Remember, the tax burden (the amount of spending approved at town meeting) stays the same. The revaluation just distributes that burden more equitably based upon the value of your property, as required by State law.
Will the assessed value of my property go up?
Almost certainly. Market values of properties have increased dramatically in recent years, leaving our assessed values behind. So don't panic when you receive your new assessment, because nearly everyone's assessment is going up, but not everyone's taxes are going up. Remember; 1/3 up, 1/3 same, 1/3 down.
How can my assessment go up and taxes stay the same or go down?
Alright I was trying to avoid throwing math at you, but since you asked...remember your taxes are calculated by multiplying the assessed value of your property by the mill rate. The mill (or mil) rate is calculated by dividing the total assessed value of the town by the amount needed to be raised by taxes and is currently $16.30 per thousand dollars of value. So if the total value of the town doubles as is anticipated, and spending levels stay the same, the mill rate will be halved. So if your property is currently assessed at $100,000, your taxes are $1,630.00 (100 thousands x 16.3). If your new assessment is $200,000, but the mill rate drops to $8.15 your taxes will still be $1630.00 (200 x $8.15). If your new assessment is $150,000 and the mill rate is $8.15, then your taxes will drop to $1,222.50 (150 x $8.15). Please remember these are just hypotheticals for explanation purposes.
What if I don't want them on my property when I'm not there?
The data collectors will not enter property that has a 'No Trespassing' sign posted. Again, these are professionals who have visited thousands of properties so I would encourage people to help them get their job done as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Obviously, if there is something on your property that poses a hazard to the data collectors, then a 'No Trespassing' sign makes good sense.
Why are we using an appraisal firm from Massachusetts?
The Board of Selectmen/Assessors and I looked at several companies. KRT had a favorable price and timeline. With our certified ratio at 50% (which means our Homestead, Tree Growth, and other reimbursements from the State are reduced to 50%), time was critical. At a meeting with dozens of other assessors from around the State, I spoke with a number of assessors from towns and cities that had recently undergone a revaluation. Everyone that had used KRT was pleased with their work.
Some people have expressed concern about the firm being from Massachusetts and that they will use Massachusetts's house prices to assess ours. Assessing a town is the same process wherever you go. You must gather and evaluate sales data from the town and if there is not enough data from within the town, from similar towns in the area. From this data you can establish tables that when populated with the specifics of a property and/or house, will calculate an accurate current market value for that area.
When is this going to happen?
Notification postcards are being sent out in batches of a couple hundred at a time ahead of the visits by the data collectors, which will be starting Monday, July 8. If you haven't received your postcard, it just means that you're neighborhood is not on the schedule yet.
I hope they will be well received by our residents. After all, they are just professionals trying to do the job we have all hired them to do.

For more info:
See Press Release from KRT Appraisals and their Revaluation FAQs
Also:  IAAO Revaluation FAQs

- John Bell
  Waterford Assessor's Agent
  Certified Maine Assessor
   207-583-4403
   jbell@waterfordme.org

Five Kezar Road Will be Closed at the Warren Brook Crossing for a Week Beginning August 5th

The washed out culvert will be replaced with a box culvert and the road bed will be raised several feet to prevent future flooding. The project will take less time and consequently less money by closing the road. Access will be through the Lovell - Waterford Road which is being improved in anticipation of the increased traffic. Local emergency services will be made aware of the situation and will plan accordingly.

The hope is that by closing the road for a week now and fixing it properly, it will avoid a situation where a severe washout or flood could close the road indefinitely at a time of year when the Lovell - Waterford Road is inaccessible - a planned inconvenience now versus an unanticipated extreme hardship.


N. Waterford Food Truck Park is Open

Food Truck Park-2A
Richie, Dottie & Spencer Morse have transformed the former Melby's parking lot into an attractive and busy food truck park. By all accounts the park has been a big success as people again have a place in town to grab a bite to eat and visit with friends and neighbors. Check the North Waterford Food Truck Park Facebook page for the vendors' schedules.

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TOWN OF WATERFORD

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Town Clerk's Office
Closed Mondays
Tues & Thu  7:30 - 4:30 
Wed & Fri   7:30 - 5:00
Tel: 207-583-4403
Fax: 207-583-6433
Town of Waterford
366 Valley Road
Waterford, ME 04088
twnofwaterford@roadrunner.com

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ceo@waterfordme.org

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