NORRIDGEWOCK — Property owners can attend a workshop this weekend to learn more about their tax liability options related to the upcoming town-wide revaluation, which is the first such taxable property review the town has conducted in more than two decades.

Town Manager Richard LaBelle said properties in Norridgewock are valued between 60 and 65 percent of real market values, meaning if a property was sold for $100,000, the town likely has it valued for around $65,000.

“We really want to try to get up and level off at 100 percent,” LaBelle said. The revaluation would create equalization of property values, he said, as some are currently overvalued and some are undervalued.

There are about 2,200 taxable properties in town, LaBelle said.

LaBelle said the last time Norridgewock had a town-wide revaluation was in 1992. The same company that did that revaluation — RJD Appraisal of Pittsfield — was contracted to do this one as well at a cost of $169,000. Field work lasted from June through October, and RJD will return in the next week or two to verify values.

LaBelle said higher valuations would not mean higher taxes for residents. He said that as property values went on paper, it would actually help reduce the tax rate, which is currently $21.20 per $1,000 of property value. The town’s budget is what determines the tax rate, and he said as property values increase the tax rate should decrease.

As part of the revaluation process, the town is holding a workshop for property owners at 9 a.m. Saturday in the town office.

A key aspect of the workshop, LaBelle said, is explaining that Norridgewock homeowners who qualify for the state’s homestead exemption on property taxes may not have been receiving the fullest exemption because the town has had lower property values on its books. The homestead exemption is a program that provides property tax relief for qualified homeowners. A homeowner must be a permanent resident of Maine, their home must be their permanent residence and an applicant must have owned a home in Maine for the 12 months prior to applying.

For 2016, the total relief allowed was $15,000. But LaBelle said Norridgewock taxpayers who were approved for the exemption only received a portion of what they could have because of the lower valuation.

“So as these assessments come to 100 percent, then those eligible will receive the full homestead exemption allowance,” LaBelle said.

The town’s assessing agent, Donna Hays, will conduct the Saturday workshop and taxpayers will have an opportunity to learn about the homestead exemption and other exemptions as well, such as the ones for military veterans and for residents with disabilities.

“A lot of people are eligible and aren’t aware or don’t know they’re there,” LaBelle said.

Additionally, local forester Daren Turner will be at the workshop to discuss the tree growth tax program, which can help reduce taxes for property owners who designate parts of their property as productive forest.

LaBelle said other programs residents can use and how a property needs to be designated will also be discussed.

“It’s an opportunity to come learn about these programs and enroll,” LaBelle said.

All exemptions take effect April 1, LaBelle said, so this workshop would allow residents to apply ahead of that date.

Colin Ellis — 861-9253

[email protected]

Twitter: @colinoellis

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