The Brunswick Town Council will hold a special meeting next week to vote on whether to postpone implementation of a townwide property revaluation that would result in tax increases for more than 60% of residents.

“In response to many concerns from residents, (the council) has scheduled a special public meeting to discuss the possibility of postponing the implementation of new property value assessments and changes in tax payments until next year,” the town said in a public notice Friday. “Postponing the implementation would provide the assessor with another year to review the valuation methods and make additional adjustments. It will also allow taxpayers nearly nine months to review their own situation and the implications of increasing valuations.”

Property owners began receiving letters last month notifying them of the revaluation, the town’s first since 2017. State law requires municipal assessments to average between 70% and 110% of market value, and Brunswick’s assessment was at 58%.

A revaluation doesn’t increase taxes in and of itself, it just shifts the burden among different property owners. However, since the value of residential homes increased far more than the value of commercial properties, an estimated 62% of property owners would see an increase, compared to 15% who would see a decrease and 22% who would see no change in their tax bill.

“Because residential has seen such an increase in market sales in the last few years, it’s going to bear a bigger burden of the pie than commercial because commercial hasn’t gone up as much,” Town Manager John Eldridge told councilors last month.

Already, Brunswick town councilors have gotten an earful from residents at meetings since the letters first started arriving in mailboxes. One of the biggest complaints has been that the town didn’t communicate ahead of time that a revaluation would be happening.


Now, councilors will decide at a 6:30 p.m. meeting Thursday whether to delay the revaluation. Members of the public are encouraged to attend and offer comment.

The revaluation doesn’t actually result in collecting more tax dollars overall, which means the increase in property value translates to a projected drop in the property tax rate, from $21.69 per $1,000 value to $14.50 per $1,000 value. The tax rate is determined by essentially dividing a community’s budget by its total taxable value. As values increase, the tax rate will decrease and vice-versa.

Bill Hayes is among those who expects to see a big increase. The new assessment valued his home at $762,000. Last year, it was $287,000. He said his property taxes are expected to surge from about $6,000 to $11,000.

“I was stupefied,” Hayes told the Times Record this week.

The reassessments were determined by market surveys, comparable sales and field work, among other factors. Brunswick, like many communities in southern Maine, has seen real estate prices skyrocket in recent years.

Some councilors have shared residents’ concerns.

“What I can’t wrap my head around is how we have somehow managed to hold ourselves hostage to the single-most overheated real estate market in my lifetime,” Dan Ankeles said last week. “The fact that we are pinning our entire tax base to that … it can’t be what we end up doing.”

Property owners who believe their reassessment is wrong can contact the assessor’s office until Aug. 31 for an “informal review,” according to Burns. An appeal form can be found on the town’s website. That deadline could be extended if the council votes to delay.

If the Town Council does not postpone implementation next week, the first tax payments are projected to be due around mid-October. The town allows property owners to pay their tax bill in two installments in mid-October and mid-April.

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.