November 4, 2013

Tax bills arrive with surprise in Brunswick

Computerized improvements in the town's appraisal system for mobile home assessments raise concerns.

By Kelley Bouchard kbouchard@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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click image to enlarge

Sharon Brown, standing outside her mobile home in Brunswick, saw her property tax bill increase 12.6 percent this year. She is among about a dozen mobile home owners who have questioned their assessments.

Photos by John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

Donovan said mobile homes depreciate significantly in the first few years and tend to level off, especially if they’re well-maintained and in a good location, such as a well-maintained park.

“Mobile homes do depreciate over time, but a lot depends on what happens in the market,” Donovan said. “I’ve seen them appreciate and I’ve seen them depreciate.”

The assessed value of Brown’s single-wide mobile home has fallen and recovered since she bought it in 2000. It was first appraised at $30,000 and assessed at $27,000 (90 percent of market value) in 2001. The assessed value gradually fell to $16,800 in 2007, then rose to $17,500 in 2012. This year, the appraisal based on comparable sales is $28,145 and the assessed value (70 percent of market value) is $19,700.

After the town applied a $7,000 homestead exemption and a $4,200 veteran’s exemption, Brown paid taxes on $8,500 in property value, or $226.

Brown acknowledged that her tax bill might seem small to others, and that her $470 combined monthly mortgage and lot rental payment is quite low. But a $69 tax increase is a lot for a senior living on a fixed income, she said.

“And this may be an easy population to target because many of us didn’t realize it happened,” she said.

Brown said she would consider the assessor’s invitation to have her assessment reviewed and possibly adjusted.

Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

kbouchard@pressherald.com

Twitter: KelleyBouchard

 

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