Dresden vote on reassessment ends in a tie, another meeting will be scheduled

Dresden City Administrator Daniel Swain explains the process behind a reassessment of all city properties at a special town meeting on Tuesday, August 30. perform a reassessment over a two-year period. (Photo by Evan Houk)

A special city assembly vote to set aside $200,000 for a reassessment of properties in Dresden ended in a 28-28 tie, defeating the question, on Tuesday, August 30.

Because a few voters left after voting by secret ballot and before the count was complete, another vote could not take place, according to moderator Jeff Pierce. Another special town meeting will be scheduled in the future to consider the same issue.

City administrator Daniel Swain said Dresden has never been reassessed and most of the land data the city has is incomplete or incorrect. He said the city plans to hire a professional appraisal company to visit each of the more than 1,400 properties, measure all buildings, record conditions and update property maps with changes.

If the special municipal meeting issue had been approved, the city would have the authority to spend up to $200,000 of its undesignated fund balance, or surplus, to hire a company to perform the reassessment over a period of two year. A request for proposals would be issued and companies would submit sealed bids for the work.

Dresden resident Neal Amirault spoke out in favor of allocating $200,000 for a reassessment of city properties at a special town meeting on Tuesday, August 30." he said.  (Photo by Evan Houk)

Dresden resident Neal Amirault spoke out in favor of allocating $200,000 for a reassessment of city properties at a special town meeting on Tuesday, August 30. “It’s just, for me, to make life fair for everyone,” he said. (Photo by Evan Houk)

Once property appraisals are completed, the new updated information is entered into the municipal office appraisal program, TRIO, which is able to accurately assess the value of properties based on market values ​​determined by the ‘State.

“Everyone is taxed for what they have, that’s what you want,” Swain said of the result of a reassessment. “You don’t want to be taxed for something you don’t have.”

After more than an hour of discussion, much of it centered on concerns about increased property taxes following the reassessment, resident Neal Amirault said the only taxes that will increase are for properties that have not been correctly assessed and are not increasing. -nowadays. He added that concerns about taxes should be voiced at the annual municipal meeting when the budget is voted on.

“If you’re worried about your taxes going up, it’s because you’ve done a lot of things to your property and you haven’t told anyone about it or voted for everything at the town hall,” Amirault said. . “It’s just, for me, to make life fair for everyone.”

The city’s appraisal ratio, which considers a property’s appraised value relative to its market value, is below the percentage threshold required by the state. The state can issue less funding for education and reduce the value of property exemptions if city property records and assessed values ​​are not accurate, Swain said.

Last year, all homestead exemptions for landowners in Dresden were assessed at $21,750 instead of $25,000 due to the city’s skewed assessment ratio, Swain said.

Swain said many of the city’s property records are so outdated that the appraisal company will essentially have to start from scratch to appraise parcels.

Resident Jonathan Doray and other residents questioned whether the reassessment would automatically raise taxes. Doray expressed concern about “a housing bubble” and house price inflation.

“Everyone knows the housing market is going to crash,” Doray said.

Swain said the reassessment will raise taxes for some people who may have more value in their property, in the form of additions, than when it was purchased.

Resident Justin Andrus spoke out in favor of the revaluation, saying all housing values ​​in the city have risen over the past two years and will also fall when prices calm down, putting landlords on their toes of equality.

He said the reassessment “will not change the amount of tax collected” and that the mil rate will actually decrease due to the expected increase in assessed land values ​​in town, unless the budget increases by one. proportional amount.

“It will change the proportions in which we pay our taxes. The amount of tax collected will be set by the city budget, it will be set by our vote at the annual municipal meeting,” Andrus said.

The Dresden Select Board will hold a special meeting at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, September 6 to set the city’s mil rate. Swain said he could raise the issue of a new special town meeting at that time and the select council could then set a date that is still undetermined.

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