WINSLOW — A townwide revaluation was completed this year, and many Winslow property owners have seen their assessments jump, resulting in significantly larger tax bills even though the municipal tax rate has decreased, leading some property owners to express frustration this week at a Town Council meeting.

The meeting Monday drew more than 50 residents and began with a public comment period that involved tense exchanges as council Chairman Peter Drapeau and Town Manager Erica LaCroix explained the reasons for the increased tax bills the town mailed earlier this month to property owners.

While the town’s new $31 million budget reduced property taxes from $21.20 to $15 per $1,000 of $1,000 of assessed valuation, town officials said residents are seeing larger bills because the town conducted its first revaluation in 15 years, and it led to Winslow’s overall assessed value increasing by more than 35%. The increase in residential properties was particularly sharp, Drapeau said.

“What happened in Winslow is that 90% of the homes are undervalued,” he said. “The last time a (revaluation) was done was in 2008. It was supposed to be done in 2018. We have been treading water from 2018 to now to redo the revaluation. We’ve been penalized for the past three years from the state because we didn’t do it.”

The assessment of certain types of properties increased much more than others. The estimated values of single-family and multifamily homes rose by 73% and 85%, respectively, according to a memorandum from Judy Mathiau, Winslow’s town assessor. The value of manufactured housing, which includes mobile homes and prefabricated houses, increased by 95%.

Commercial properties, however, increased in value by only 40%. LaCroix said there was “no way we could have forseen” the differing assessments.


The revaluation was conducted by KRT Appraisal, based in Haverhill, Massachusetts.

Residents told the Town Council that working-class people could be priced out of Winslow. In an animated exchange with Drapeau, one resident said the revaluation does not accurately reflect property values in Winslow, and “the bubble is in the process of bursting.”

“My property tax was assessed by complete strangers from Massachusetts that the town paid for to the tune of $200,000,” the resident said. “My house has increased, according to the tax assessor, $120,000. I haven’t done a damn thing to the house. In my mind, it’s depreciated.”

LaCroix said property assessments have risen across the board, even if homeowners have not improved or upgraded their home or property. The state constitution mandates all properties be assessed so a fair tax rate can be established, she said.

“The process is mandatory,” LaCroix said. “The state requires that you do it because in the state constitution, we are supposed to be equitable in the way that properties are assessed. So when you get too far down the road, you start seeing things get out of whack, which is where we’re getting to here.”

Residents said they are worried Winslow’s low- and middle-income residents will bear much of the financial pain of larger tax bills. Resident Ryan Clark warned that landlords might raise rents to cover increased property taxes.

“You’re going to drive working-class people out of town. Rent is going to have to go way up,” he said. “It’s not just people who own houses who are going to pay more. The landlord is going to pass that cost right on to the people that rent. Everybody’s going to pay more. Winslow should not just exist for rich people. It should exist for everybody.”

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