July 19, 2019

A report from the Town of Windham Assessor’s Office

It is the responsibility of the Assessing Office to maintain assessed values according to just value or market value. Continued increases in the real estate market are indicating that this office again needs to make value adjustments.  The Maine Constitution states that “all taxes upon real and personal estate, assessed by authority of this State, shall be apportioned and assessed equally according to the just value thereof.”  In order to apportion the tax burden equally, the Assessor must establish assessed valuations at just value. Just value is synonymous with market value. 

  1. The Windham real estate market has continued to grow, and recent sale prices are quickly outpacing last year’s town-wide valuation update. Sales studies now show that residential assessments average around 88% of sales prices and prices continue to ascend. Had Windham not conducted an update last year we would likely be in the 75% range this year. There have been very few commercial sales and therefore no adjustments to commercial assessments are needed at this time. 
  2. The school, town and county budgets have already been set. An update will NOT raise more revenue for the Town. The purpose is to value all properties by the same standard and equalize the tax burden.
  3. Significant changes are not expected in most tax bills as the majority of the update will be proportionate to one another. This means that most property valuations will be raised by a similar amount and thus experience a tax bill increase similar to what they would have even without the update. Exceptions include cases where a homeowner has made property improvements or are undervalued relative to everyone else.
  4. Benefits to this action include:
http://www.mooselandingmarina.com/·       The projected mil rate will likely be reduced;
·       Properties that were undervalued relative to others will be brought up to pay their fair share;
·       We will avoid reducing the amounts for Homestead, Veteran and Blind exemptions;
·       Smaller updates like this insulate property owners from sudden jumps in valuation;
·       Frequent updates avoid costly one-time revaluations;
·       The update can be prepared without significant expense because our field inspection work is current.

Work on this project will begin immediately in order to meet the August 13, 2019 commitment date deadline.

Tax Relief: The following exemptions and current use programs are available to those who qualify. Applications and more information can be obtained either through the Assessing Office or by contacting Maine Revenue Services, Property Tax Division at 287-2013.

·       Veterans Exemption - A person must be a Maine resident, 62 years or older and have served in the U.S. Armed Forces during a Federally Recognized War Period or; be receiving 100% disability compensation for service-connected injury. $6,000 exemption.
·       Homestead Exemption - A person must be a Maine resident and have owned and resided in the property they consider their homestead and legal residence for at least 12 months prior to date of application. Forms must be filed with the Assessing Office by April 1.  Forms filed after April 1 of any year will apply to the subsequent year’s tax assessment. $20,000 exemption.
https://www.orangecircuitfitness.com/·       Blind Exemption - A person determined to be legally blind.
     $4,000 exemption.
·       Senior Property Tax Assistance – Information is available through the Town Manager’s Office or by visiting:  http://windhammaine.us/616/Senior-Property-Tax-Assistance

Current Use Programs: In the 1970's, the Constitutional Law added a current use clause which allowed special treatment for certain property use if several criteria are met.

·       Tree Growth - A parcel of land with at least 10 contiguous forested acres which are harvested for commercial purposes.
·       Farmland - Property must have a minimum of 5 contiguous acres and be used for agricultural purposes with contributing income.
·       Open Space - No minimum acreage but parcel must be undeveloped and provide a public benefit.

For more information please visit our website http://www.windhammaine.us/156/Assessor or contact the Windham Assessor’s Office at (207) 894-5960 ext. 3.

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