News Feature

Blue Hill
Originally published in The Weekly Packet, July 18, 2013
Property tax assessments reduced in Blue Hill, mill rate goes up

by Faith DeAmbrose

When property owners in Blue Hill get their tax bills in the coming weeks they will notice a change that rarely ever happens: their property assessments have been reduced. Across the board, all properties—land and buildings—have been reduced by 15 percent in what Selectman Jim Schatz said is reflective of a general reduction is property values statewide.

Typically, in most years, municipalities struggle to keep pace with the state’s increased assessment of their town, said Schatz, but for Blue Hill, which conducted its last town-wide revaluation at the height of the real estate bubble in 2008, those values remain high given the states downed economy.

The readjustment of value, however, does not translate into a 15-percent reduction in property taxes, said Schatz, noting that taxes, for the most part, will remain unchanged.

To pay for the $5.31 million obligation taxpayers raised at April’s annual town meeting, the mill rate has gone from .007 mills to .0084 mills; or from $7 per $1,000 in value to $8.40 per $1,000 of value. (County Tax, $289,065; school budget, $4,273,097; municipal budget, $799,200.) This means that a property valued at $250,000 would have paid $1,750 in 2012. In 2013, the assessment is reduced by 15 percent to $212,500 and the tax bill is $1,785, or $35 more than last year. A $1 million home will be billed $140 more in 2013 than it was in 2012.

Schatz said it is unusual for property values to be reduced at a municipal level, but at this point, the town’s valuation is higher than the state’s valuation and must be brought in line.