State of Maine property tax law requires all property which is subject to property taxation be assessed in accordance with the status of that property on April 1st each year. Property tax is to be assessed by the municipality where that property is located, according to its value and to whoever owns it, all as of April 1 each year. To that end, each year all Tax Assessors and/or their agents generally hit the road around April 1st trying to determine what has changed from the prior year. In towns like ours that do not have any building permit or intent-to-improve system, that work has to be done by observation and visitation. This means driving the roads and looking for new buildings and additions to buildings including garages, barns and the like. In order for property taxes to be assessed fairly, all property must be taxed at or about the same level of market value.
In light of our concerns regarding COVID-19 and how it is impacting our citizens, the Winterport Board of Assessors has asked our new Assessors’ Agent to temporarily hold back from making her annual property visits. At a time when social distancing is being encouraged for all, we do not want out citizens to feel put upon with a visit from our Agent. However, we would ask that property owners who have made substantial improvements to their property to be forthcoming regarding any new construction and when it has occurred. We ask that you contact the town office to let us know what construction and improvements you have made over this past year. When the authorities tell us it is safe to resume work as normal, the Agent will be back out on the road to continue her work by visiting and documenting new properties.
As of today, we have made the decision to hold off on any direct property visits for at least two weeks. Our previous Agent, who retired last fall, had been with us for 20 years and had a pretty good grasp of the town and what was on the ground. Our new Agent will still be driving our roads, trying to get familiar with our town and making notes as to where she must visit in the future when things return to normal.
Thank you for your patience and understanding, and if you have been made uncomfortable in any way by her visit, we apologize. If you have any questions, please contact the Town Office and they will take your phone number and either myself or the new Assessors’ Agent will call you back.
Tom Skratt, Chair Winterport Board of Assessors