Portland Assessor Christopher Huff reviews revaluation modeling in his City Hall office Monday. New assessments are expected for next year’s tax bills. Michael Kelley / The Forecaster

PORTLAND — After taking than 26,200 photographs of properties as part of an initial data collection this spring, the company hired to do a citywide revaluation is gathering more information to determine new residential, commercial and industrial assessments.

City Assessor Christopher Huff said mailings were sent by Tyler Technologies’ CLT Appraisal Services to owners of commercial, industrial, and apartment properties seeking current and relevant income and expense data. The property owners were asked to return the forms by Friday, Aug. 16.

Mailings asking homeowners to verify information the assessing office has on file about the number of bedrooms, bathrooms and other elements in their homes will be sent out in mid-August.

“The better responses we get, the better data we have and the better our modeling will be when we put final assessment numbers to properties,” Huff said Monday.

The city has said all information provided will remain strictly confidential, and while there is no penalty for failure to provide information, submissions will ensure that the new assessments reflect the actual economic climate in the city and how it relates to each property.

Additionally, the information will be required if a property owner challenges their new property value during next year’s informal hearing and appeal process.

Huff said a citywide revaluation is needed to offer a more equitable distribution of the tax burden and make sure Portland complies with state requirements. He said the city is getting “very close” to falling out of compliance with state requirements.

The last time a revaluation was done, he said, was in 2004.

“I don’t think anyone would argue the city and market has changed since 2004 and it is time to do the process again,” Huff said.

Tyler Technologies did the revaluation in 2004, too, but it’s taking a more technologically driven approach this year by using a geographic information system to reduce the need to have employees go door-to-door interviewing owners and measuring properties.

“We’ve saved $500,000 because of that and believe we will be able to turn it around much quicker,” Huff said.

He said building plans, real estate sales and information already on file in the assessing office also help determine how the new values are set.

Once notices of new values are mailed to property owners next spring, individuals will be allowed to file for appeals, set to take place in May and June 2020. Adjustments will be made if warranted, and assessments will be finalized by July 2020.

The new assessed values, Huff said, will be part of the fiscal year 2021 tax bills sent out in August 2020. He said most properties are likely to see the assessment of their properties increase, but that doesn’t mean taxes will increase.

Overall, he expects a third of tax bills to go up, a third to go down and a third to stay roughly unchanged.


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