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by Sheila Varnum
Revaluations of real estate and personal property in Brooksville has caused some blinking of eyes and shaking of heads—a few complaints and a stack of letters from irate taxpayers.
But most have been satisfied by explanations of the valuations given at a public hearings last Thursdays when a few errors were corrected and it was explained that although the valuation goes up, the tax rate goes down.
The raise in valuation was a whopping one—from $335,505 to $3,220,000.
TAX RATE DROPS
At the same time, the present tax rate of 170 mills ($170 per $1,000 valuation) drops a corresponding amount, to 20 mills ($20 per $1,000 valuation)…
Cards, showing past and present valuation and past and present tax rates were sent to all taxpayers, but an oversight on the cards going to non-resident taxpayers brought in a deluge of mail. It turned out the new, lower, approximate tax rate had been omitted on the cards sent out of state.
SOME TAX UNCHANGED
Brooksville second selectman Girard Condon estimated that about a third of the taxpayers would be paying a larger total tax bill under the new figures, about a third would be paying less and about a third the same as last year.
Between 50 and 60 people attended Thursday’s hearing, many out of curiosity, some with definite complaints. A representative of the Knowles firm was on hand to give explanations.
The revaluation and hearing resulted in a number of interesting stories.
In one case, it was discovered that a taxpayer had been paying taxes on 40 acres of land he hadn’t owned for over 30 years.
First selectman Gerald Gray said the town had received a stack of letters from out-of-state taxpayers, all registering complaints on the jump in valuation. One property owner wanted to know if they had suddenly discovered gold or uranium on her land to make it so valuable. Another asked why land in Brooksville was worth so much more than that in adjoining towns.
GETS PHONE CALLS
Real estate broker Mrs. J. Hallowell Vaughan received a number of telephone calls from non-residents asking why their valuation had doubled or even tripled that of last year.
Most of the non-resident, for instance, who paid a $1,700 tax last year will be paying only about $400 because of land which had been previously over-valued.
In another case, a local resident had an increase of $300 in his tax and a second had an increase of $186….
Real estate in Bucks Harbor took the biggest jump in valuation….
Set valuations were established on specific items of personal property such as tractors, coolers, grinders, scales and other store equipment, and garage machinery and equipment.
Valuation figures of common articles of personal property have been set at $50 for chain saws, $30 for 1-5HP outboard motors, $50 for 5-10HP outboards, $100 for 10-15HP outboards, $130 for outboards of 15HP and over; $10 for quarter-inch drills; $20 for half-inch drills; $30 for power lawn mowers, $30 for small bench saws; $50 for large bench saws; $30 for skill saws and $30 for jointer saws.