WESTBROOK — A decade since last tweaking property valuations, the city assessor’s office is about to embark on a revaluation update of commercial and residential properties.

“Municipalities are required to make assessments that are at least 70 percent of the market value of the properties. Because of the rising real estate market, the city of Westbrook’s assessment will be below that statutory threshold by 2020,” City Assessor Jim Thomas said. 

Overall, Thomas said, Westbrook properties now are valued at 89 percent of their market value, but in the next fiscal year, it will switch to 84 percent of market value. When a valuation dips below 90 percent, a municipality begins to see reduced state reimbursements for things like the Homestead Exemption and Veteran Exemption programs, he said.

City Administrator Jerre Bryant said the revaluation will not necessitate the hiring of an outside firm to do the work.

“What we are doing with the capability of our existing software and resources is looking at the inflation, or residential growth rate, not just across the board, but across neighborhoods on a micro basis,” Bryant said.

Bryant said this approach will help avoid a more expensive full revaluation.

“The more we can continually adjust values to keep up with the market, the longer we can put a full-blown revaluation off,” Bryant said.

Thomas said the last time the city did a complete revaluation was in 2006. The values were last tweaked in 2009 as a result of the economic climate at the time.

“In 2009, in response to the great recession, we did a city-wide adjustment and lowered values (by 10 percent)” he said.

The goal, Thomas said, is to have the revaluation update done by the middle of June. The new property values will be included in the fiscal year 2020 tax bills.

A revaluation does not need City Council approval, but councilors are expected to act on a resolve on whether to support a city-wide revaluation update May 6.

Michael Kelley can be reached at 780-9106 or [email protected] or on Twitter @mkelleynews.