SCARBOROUGH — On Sept. 30 Tax Assessor Nicholas Cloutier gave a FY 2021 tax commitment update, which includes a mil rate increase to $14.86 per $1,000.

FY 2020 had a mill rate of $14.70 per $1,000 of valuation, Cloutier said. This is an increase of 1.09 percent.

“I think that’s one of the lowest increases there has been in recent years and other towns may have seen as well,” he said. “I was pleased that the tax rate came in even a little lower than what was projected in the budget.”

The new total taxable valuation base of Scarborough is $4.7 billion, up $30 million from last year, Cloutier said.

Scarborough saw an increase of $39.2 million in commercial assessed value, he said. This was a 4.12 percent change.

That percent change is remarkable to Cloutier, he said, and is also a bonus for the homeowner, as the tax burden will shift.

“There are only about 650 commercial properties depending how you look at it, but it’s in that range, out of the total over almost 10,000 properties, so commercial props only make up 7 percent, less than that, of the entire property base, all the parcels in town, but they lead to the value of 21.5 percent of the entire town’s valuation.”

With a probability that commercial development will continue in town throughout the future years, the valuation will reflect this fiscal year’s commercial percentage, Cloutier said.

Cloutier also discussed the statistics of tax relief programs.

The Homestead Exemption, which gives a reduction for property owners’ taxable value, was increased from $20,000 to $25,000 by the state, he said.

According to the Assessing Department section of the Town of Scarborough’s website, residents must have had a homestead property — their primary residence — for 12 months in Maine in order to qualify for the Homestead exemption. The impact on a resident’s tax bill depends on the local mil rate.

Cloutier said that 832 properties had an increase in valuation, and 7,926 properties’ values stayed the same. He added that 984 properties’ values decreased.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also seen a positive effect for residential real estate sales, but it is too soon to tell how commercial real estate has been affected, he said.

This past year saw the first town-wide reevaluation since 2005, Scarborough’s website said.

“This project was significantly delayed beyond the state recommendation of at least every 10 years,” the website said. “Moving forward, revaluations will be on a more regular schedule so that shifts in property values are more manageable for property owners.”

Cloutier also told the Town Council that the assessing department will work on ways to make this process more efficient for the town.

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: