FAIRFIELD — The Town Council voted Wednesday to conduct a townwide revaluation for the first time in at least 15 years.

The council voted unanimously to approve a $327,000 contract with RJD Appraisal of Pittsfield for the revaluation. The town has the bulk of the money set aside for the expense, Town Manager Michelle Flewelling said.

The account for the revaluation now has about $280,000, and the cost for the first year is about $35,000, so the town will have time to allocate the rest of the money in the coming years.

RJD Appraisal also contracts with Fairfield for the town’s assessing services. The company serves 62 municipalities in Maine and has completed more than 60 revaluations, according to the company website.

The revaluation process is expected to take four years, with a quarter of the town addressed each year. A start date has yet to be finalized, Flewelling said Thursday, and once a schedule is in place, town officials will notify residents.

“(It’s) really all the functions of a revaluation just staggered over a four-year period,” Robert Duplisea Jr., vice president at RJD Appraisal, told town councilors Wednesday.


Fairfield last had a revaluation in the “late 2000s,” Flewelling said, adding it is important to begin the next revaluation now because putting the process off could jeopardize state funding for the town.

Fairfield officials maintain tax rolls showing the value of all taxable property in town — values based on the last revaluation. Many of those numbers are periodically updated when residents make renovations to a property and are issued permits for the work.

At the same time, the state tracks information about the sale of property in town and evaluates the market rate. The current market rate value of property is then compared to the historical value from the revaluation, creating a ratio every year.

If that ratio drops below 70%, meaning that the historical value is less than 70% of the current market value, the state can withhold some funding, which for Fairfield could be about $40,000 a year, according to officials.

For many years, the market value was stable and the town was able to stay at about 100%, but that has changed over the past several years. Fairfield’s was at 88% last year, but is expected to drop further this year, to about 78%, which would be close to the minimally acceptable ratio, prompting the Town Council to begin the revaluation.

“In the most recent years, we’ve kept those same values, but the market, as we all know, has jumped up considerably,” Duplisea said. “So we start to see a gap between the assessed values and the most recent sale prices.”

The revaluation involves going door to door to homes and businesses throughout the town and evaluating changes that have been made, including additions or new structures, and assessing the value of the changes.

If the town was not aware of a change to a property, such as a garage having been added to a house, it will be added immediately to the resident’s tax bill, based on how it would increase the value based on historical metrics, not the current market value.

Larger changes, such as adjusting the value of the same, identical house from 2006 to 2023, will not happen until the revaluation process is completed, including time to alert residents.

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