Workshop “How the Accessment Works” 7-28-14

Taken from an article in the Portsmouth Herald
Workshop taking place to answer property concerns in Kittery
July 26, 2014 2:00 AM

KITTERY, Maine — Given recent concerns by residents about the town’s assessment of their properties, the Town Council is bringing in assessor Bruce Kerns to answer questions of both councilors and the public.

The council workshop with Kerns will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, July 28.

Gerrish Island residents Randy Price and Mark Steffen recently filed action in York County Superior Court disputing the town’s assessment of their property.

Their property value increased by $400,000 following a town-wide revalution in 2013, resulting in a 43 percent increase in property taxes.

The couple contends that the assessing department unfairly targeted them, while other waterfront properties did not see similar increases in assessments.

Since Price discussed the issue with the Portsmouth Herald in June, Town Manager Nancy Colbert Puff said she’s received five to 10 e-mails from residents expressing similar concerns.

Kerns is expected on Monday night not only to explain the assessing process, but to also explain the 2013 revalution.

Property-Tax-Bill-AppealThe workshop, which has been called a sort of “assessing 101” event, was requested by Councilor Chuck Denault after he received communications from residents expressing concern about their assessment.

Council Chairman Jeff Thomson cautioned residents that Kerns will not address concerns about individual parcels. He also stressed that decorum is required of all those in attendance.

Thomson has said that following the revaluation, the council did not hear a “hue and cry” from residents that their assessments were unfair.

“But now that it’s been brought to light, I do have some questions,” he said.