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To arrive at "full and fair cash value" for your property, the assessors must know what "willing sellers" and "willing buyers" are doing in the marketplace. The Assessors also must collect, record, and analyze a great deal of information about property and market characteristics in order to estimate fair market value, including keeping current on the cost of construction in the area and any changes in zoning, financing, and economic conditions which may affect property values. The Assessors use three standardized appraisal approaches to value: market, cost, and income. This data is then correlated into a final value.
The object of the valuation program is to estimate: "reasonable cash value" as of January 1 (known as the "assessment date") prior to the fiscal year. For example, the assessment date for Fiscal Year 2021 is January 1, 2020. Therefore, sales of calendar 2019 are used to determine full and fair cash value for the Fiscal year 2021.
When the people vote for additional spending at town meetings, or on the ballot with a Proposition 2 ½ override, an increase in taxes can occur. If you were to make improvements to your existing property, for instance: add a garage, add an additional room, the "full and fair cash value" and therefore, the assessed value would also increase.
The assessed value represents the estimate of the market value of the property. When the market value increases, the Assessors seek to adjust the assessed values accordingly. The real estate market changes constantly. The assessment for Fiscal Year 2021 represents the estimate of market value as of January 1, 2020. This estimate of market value is determined by examining sales of properties for the calendar year 2019. Although there may not have been any physical changes to the property, buyers may be paying more or less for properties than they were in previous years. The assessment changes reflect the changes in the purchase prices of similar homes in the neighborhood or neighborhood which is comparable. Buyers and sellers determine the market value of properties
If your opinion of the value of your property differs from the assessment value, by all means, come to the Assessors Office and discuss the matter. The staff will be glad to answer your questions about the assessment procedures. When questioning the assessment value, ask yourself three questions:
Keep in mind what's important: prior years' sale prices, quality of construction, condition, your property's neighborhood designation, and the building area and lot area. These are the most crucial factors in the valuation process. There is a variety of information available to help you determine whether your assessment is fair and equitable. The staff will be happy to assist you, and no appointment is necessary.
If, after discussing the matter with the staff and researching the assessments of comparable properties within your area, a difference of opinion still exists, you may appeal your assessment to the Board of Assessors by filing an abatement application.
View more information on Assessors' Page
Proposition 2 ½ places constraints on the amount of taxes which the Town can levy and on how much the tax levy can be increased from year to year by the Town. It provides the Town with annual increases in its tax levy of 2.5% plus an additional amount based on the valuation of certain new construction and other allowable growth in the tax base (new growth).