Kennebunk’s mil rate is up 40 cents, to $14.15, but town officials say residential homeowners with a Homestead exemption should see less of an increase than those without. Portland Press Herald image

KENNEBUNK – The property tax, or mil rate, has increased 40 cents, from $13.75 to $14.15 this year.

Assessor Dan Robinson told the Select Board on Tuesday, Aug. 11, that the median value of a single-family home on a lot under three acres in Kennebunk is valued at $331,200. Given that assessment, and with an increased Homestead exemption, this year the homeowner would pay $4,332 in taxes, or $53 more than the prior year tax bill of $4,279.

The same homeowner, without a Homestead exemption, paid $4,554 last year and would pay $4,686, or $132 more in property tax this year.

The Homestead exemption was $20,000 last year and increased to $25,000 this year, Robinson told the Select Board.

He said the new growth in the community was offset by the effect of the increase in Homestead exemption – essentially a wash.

“We did gain some value, but it was minimal in relation to our overall valuation,” said Robinson.

The overlay was set at $799.500, about 2 percent of the $39.8 million tax commitment.

Some Select Board members wondered if the overlay amount would be enough.

Select Board vice chair Wayne Berry said he’s heard about the state’s projected $1.5 billion revenue shortfall.

“Who do you think will take the hit when they have no money to give back,” said Berry, wondering if 2 percent was enough.

Robinson noted that there may be some added value in town prior to the tax commitment that would increase overlay. He said if the overlay amount was set at 5 percent, rather than the current 2 percent, the town would see a significant mil rate increase.

He said a recent revenue sharing update put Kennebunk in the $800,000 range, up from just under $700,000 last year. He noted Homestead exemption reimbursements were projected to increase, along with business equipment reimbursements from the state.

Select Board member William Ward wanted to know if Robinson was seeing any signs of a downward trend in real estate sales.

“Not at this point,” said Robinson, noting many properties are under contract almost immediately.

“This is a similar outcome to 9/11,” he said. “People in urban areas are looking to move … the market is good, (though) inventory is a lot low.”

The Select Board voted to set the mil rate at $14.15, per $1,000 worth of property. Due dates  are Oct. 2 and April 2.

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