FREEPORT – Absent any significant changes in municipal spending or revenue, recently completed assessments of Freeport’s residential properties should have little impact on taxes that go out this month, assessor Robert Konczal said last week.

Intern Rob Sutherland took the lead in visiting 2,400 pieces of property since spring. Sutherland and Konczal reviewed information on property cards, took photographs and talked to homeowners.

The result is a moderate increase in property values.

“On average, values are going up very modestly – 5 or 6 percent,” Konczal said. “Taxes will depend on what the town spends, and revenue. I think it’s a sign that there’s not going to be any drastic shift in the tax burden, in general. There will always be outliers.”

The town conducted new property valuations in 2010, and average taxes went from $2,824 to $3,356.

The tax rate in Freeport, which was set last year, is $15.85 per $1,000 in assessed property value. The average price of a home, Konczal said, has grown from $221,000 to $232,000.

Konczal said that, unlike many municipalities that assess property much less frequently, Freeport does so every four years. The state minimum is 10 years.

“But the result that way is really sharp changes (in assessments),” he said. “It appears that the people in Freeport much prefer this approach.”

Konczal added that he goes out every year to assess new structures, which, he pointed out, equal new revenue and help offset taxes.

Sutherland, who is the new assessor in Waterboro, said he noticed few major changes.

“For the most part,” he said, “it was just a lot of things you don’t need to take a permit out for.”

Town Manager Peter Joseph said that a property value growth rate of 4-5 percent is “very sustainable” for the town.

“We’re right at the bubble of healthy growth,” Joseph said.


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