CLINTON — Town officials are seeking other options after voters’ rejection of a proposal to use $200,000 in existing money for a townwide property revaluation.

Despite an educational push from the town, voters decided by a 762-563 tally Nov. 6 against approving $200,000 from the town’s undesignated fund balance to conduct the revaluation.

Town Manager Earla Haggerty, who previously called the revaluation “long overdue,” told the Clinton Board of Selectmen earlier this week she would consult with legal staff at the Maine Municipal Association to “see if we can get some idea of what we can do” in the wake of the failed vote and investigate “what our options are” to address what the town’s assessing agent says are inequalities in the town’s current valuation base.

“We’ve got to do what we’ve got to do, somehow, because this is hurting everybody,” Haggerty told the board during its Nov. 13 meeting.

Haggerty also said the town would work to bring Garnett Robinson, whose company, Maine Assessment & Appraisal Services, contracts as the Clinton assessor agent, before the board at an upcoming meeting to discuss a plan to move forward.

Before the failed vote, Robinson said that the goal of a revaluation would be to address inequalities in the town’s valuation and equalize property values with similar properties.

“Our job is to try to equalize between taxpayers, to make sure everybody pays their fair share and not more,” Robinson said in October. “And it’s our opinion, and I believe the opinion of the Selectboard, that there are people that are being overassessed or underassessed, and we’re trying through this process to fix that.”

Article IX of the Maine Constitution states that “all taxes upon real and personal estate, assessed by authority of this State, shall be apportioned and assessed equally according to the just value thereof.”

A municipal valuation document provided by Haggerty lists Clinton’s 2018 certified ratio at 90 percent, meaning the town’s own assessment of value is essentially 10 percent lower than the state’s. That gap indicates there is additional taxable value that is not currently assessed and could be identified in a revaluation.

While Robinson emphasized the inequalities and missing data as the driving forces behind the revaluation push, Haggerty also indicated this week that the gap between the state and local valuation has a financial effect in town.

“You know, the homestead exemption is going to take a real hit,” Haggerty said this week, referencing a form of state property tax relief. “And the people that are going to be unhappy with that are the ones that probably voted ‘no.'”

Haggerty added the valuation “affects many of our state formulas” and said there is “a fear factor” in town regarding the revaluation that is “very difficult to overcome.”

“We’re not getting the funds from the state that we should get, that actually helps reduce taxation, just because someone is afraid that they’re going to get a bigger bill,” she said.

Robinson speculated in October that some property owners would see an increase, some a decrease, and some no change in their taxes resulting from a potential revaluation.

Town officials had speculated that Clinton’s last townwide property revaluation dated back to the early 2000s. A Morning Sentinel story from 2004 indicates that Clinton completed a revaluation sometime that year.

Clinton previously brought the proposed revaluation to voters in June, but that referendum failed in a narrow 296-291 vote.

Matt Junker — 861-9253

[email protected]

Twitter: @mattjunker

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