LIVERMORE FALLS — Livermore Falls taxpayers who expect to receive the full $25,000 exemption this year will only receive a $23,500 credit, city officials say.
Properties must be assessed at 94% of the city’s assessment due to a drop in the certified ratio rate, according to Paul Binette, the city’s appraising officer.
The certified ratio must be used by assessors to adjust the value of certain exemptions in the city, including the family exemption.
Elected officials set the certified ratio rate for tax assessment purposes at 94% on May 17, after the state-certified value of real estate sales fell to 85% of city assessments, Binette said.
Each year, the state’s tax expert conducts a study of the relationship between real estate sale prices and municipal assessments, Binette said.
The state assessment lags nearly two years behind actual market values and municipal assessments by the time it is final and certified, according to Maine Tax Services.
This year’s change means that a homeowner who generally qualifies for a $25,000 homestead exemption will only be credited $23,500 due to the lower certified ratio.
The change also affects exemptions for veterans, tree growth, farmland, and assessments on personal property and hydroelectric facilities, among other entities.
Next year, the state-certified ratio for the city could be in the 80% range, said Binette, who works for John E. O’Donnell & Associates of New Gloucester.
On average, home sales in Maine have increased in value since 2019.
In Androscoggin County, the median price for a single-family home was $165,000 in 2018 and $175,000 in 2019, according to data from www.mainerealtors.com.
In 2020, the median selling price increased by $30,000 to $205,000. It increased another $35,000 in 2021, reaching $240,000.
The city hasn’t had a reassessment since 2000, but has $15,000 in the proposed budget for one.
This year’s state-certified valuation is based on 2019 and 2020 sales, Binette said.
“We stayed within 5% of the certified ratio of 100%,” said Binette, who started assessing in the city in 2011.
Last year, the developed plot ratio was 94%, Binette said, and he certified it as 100% on behalf of the council.
Once it drops below 10% of the state-required 100%, Binette needs the board’s guidance on what ratio it should be locked to.
The breeders, who are the assessors, had the option of setting the certified ratio between 77% and 94%.
The selectors discussed the options before making the decision to go for 94%.
By choosing 94%, the city is ensuring that every taxpayer eligible for the $25,000 homestead exemption will realize as much of the exemption as possible, Binette said.
Using last year’s tax rate, homeowners would see a difference of about $34.80 on a typical tax bill, he said.
The city plans to receive about $200,000 more in state revenue sharing this year to help offset any increased tax burden.
According to the Maine State Treasurer’s Office, it is expected, though not finalized, that the city will receive $810,961.32 in fiscal year 2023, which is July 1 through June 30, 2023.
In 2021-22, the projection for the city was $606,125.
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