WINSLOW — Inspectors are expected later this month to begin reviewing homes and other properties in Winslow as part of a two-year project to ensure the properties are assessed correctly and align with their market value.

KRT Appraisal of Haverhill, Massachusetts, is scheduled to begin reviewing and listing Winslow properties to verify existing assessment information.

Property valuations in Winslow have not been updated since 2008, and the revaluation is intended to make sure the tax burden is distributed evenly and all owners are paying their fair share, Assessor Judy Mathiau said Thursday.

“We just want to make sure everyone’s real estate is accounted for and we have accurate files,” Mathiau said.

The town’s assessment ratio, which considers a property’s assessed value as compared to its market value, is dropping and at a certain point the town will start receiving fewer subsidies from the state and less homestead exemption funds, Mathiau said. Most of the assessed value of residential land in Winslow is now at about 80% of fair market value.

The revaluation is expected to cost about $200,000, which Mathiau described as “very reasonable.” Money was approved at the Town Meeting this year, and more money is expected to be appropriated over the next two years. KRT Appraisal is allowing the town to pay for the project over two years, according to Mathiau.

The longer time frame was chosen in the hope of obtaining more-realistic and accurate assessed values, Mathiau said.

“I wanted to go over a two-year span so we didn’t react to the COVID market,” she said. “We’re looking at a longer period of time to sort of stabilize it.”

Mathiau said she expects most property assessments to increase, boosting Winslow’s tax base, but this should not increase the tax burden for property owners, she said.

“(Town councilors) will vote on their budget, regardless of what I’m doing with my assessments,” Mathiau said. “So if we increase everybody by 20%, the tax rate should go down by 20%.”

The data collection phase is the first of five in the revaluation process, which is expected to adjust assessments to reflect the fair market value of properties as of April 1, 2023.

Postcards have been mailed to 450 property owners informing them to expect a visit within 45 days from a KRT inspector. Visits are set to begin Monday. There are about 4,300 parcels in Winslow, about one-third of them vacant land, according to Mathiau.

KRT is expected to measure the exterior of each building and attempt to inspect the interior, if the owner is home at the time. If the owner is not home, a letter will be mailed to schedule an interior inspection.

Later phases of the assessment process will include other research, such as analyzing the real estate market through information from the Maine Multiple Listing Service, property managers, developers and real estate professionals.

Property owners in the summer of 2023 should receive a mailing showing the new proposed values of their property.

“At that time, anyone with questions concerning the revaluation process or the value established for their property will have an opportunity to meet with a member of KRT’s staff,” according to information provided by the Winslow assessor’s office.

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