By Diana Bowley of the news staff - DEXTER - It was wishful thinking on tax assessor Dave Pearson's part, but the towns of Garland and Exeter have parted ways with Dexter on a regional revaluation effort.
The three towns last year won a $10,000 planning grant proposed by Pearson to develop a plan for a regional revaluation system. The intent was to seek a larger grant that would submit this year for a full revaluation of all properties in the three towns.
"It makes much more sense as far as equity for all the towns in the SAD 46 school district to use the same assessment system," Pearson said Monday. "I thought we were going down with a pretty rational approach to regionalization."
But Exeter and Garland chose not to be part of the regional venture earlier this year, leaving Dexter on its own.
Ripley, also a SAD 46 member, declined to participate at the start because it had recently done a revaluation.
Dexter recently awarded a contract for the revaluation to William E. Van Tuinen of Madison at a cost of $139,000. It will be the first full revaluation Dexter has done since 1991. The firm's original bid was $152,000 but was reduced because Pearson will assess the personal property, commercial and industrial buildings and will do the sketching of the buildings into the software.
The firm will now do just the residential properties. Pearson said the ideal scenario would have been for all of the district's towns to use the same sales ratio, software and property tax cards. If one town's assessing is "out of whack," it affects the entire district, he said. Towns whose property valuations are not at par with property sales receive less state reimbursement for schools which shifts more costs to other communities, he said.
Unlike other states, Pearson said, Maine communities are responsible for assessing. In other states, counties are responsible for the assessing and they use the same method for all towns in their jurisdiction. He believes that may become the system Maine uses because the current system is antiquated.
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