The Brunswick Town Council on Thursday voted to delay a controversial property revaluation that would have significantly increased taxes for some homeowners.

Councilors during a special meeting unanimously agreed to postpone the revaluation until next year to give more time for homeowners facing property tax hikes to prepare and for people to verify their updated assessments are accurate.

Assessor Taylor Burns said his office undertook the revaluation, the first since 2017, because the town’s 9,721 properties were assessed at about 58% of market value this year. State law requires municipal assessments to average between 70% and 110% of market value.

The revaluation shifted more of the tax burden on homeowners, since the residential real estate market has outpaced commercial. Some homeowners were facing tax hikes of 100% or more, while other property owners would see tax decreases. Town officials have been inundated by phone calls, emails and public comments at meetings from residents scared they can’t afford steep tax hikes.

“I’ve heard from progressives and conservatives and everybody in between over the last couple weeks on this, and it’s all about the simple fact that people don’t have the money to pay this,” Councilor Dan Ankeles said.

Under the revaluation, an estimated 62% of property owners would see a property tax hike, while 15% would see a decrease and 22% would see no change in their tax bills. Instead, there will be a roughly 7% across-the-board tax hike because bills will be calculated based on 2022 values and the $92.1 million budget the council approved in May included the 7% tax hike.


“We have all gotten emails and comments from people who do not want to delay (the revaluation) because their taxes were going to go down or not go up as far if we kept the old values,” council Chairperson James Mason said.

“There isn’t an option that’s going to feel just to everyone,” Councilor Abby King said. “So, our next best option is to halt the process until we can be sure we’re moving forward in the most fair and equitable way possible.”

She added that had she known the ramifications of the revaluation during the budget process earlier this year, she may have voted differently.

Homeowner Ronna Casper said her tax bill would have doubled under the revaluation.

“We need to wait another year so I can go in and have them really look at my assessment,” she said.

Fellow homeowner Bill Tims, also facing a tax bill that would have doubled, agreed.


“I’m a 76-year-old veteran, retired. My wife’s retired. We live on a fixed income,” he said. “How fair is it? It stinks.”

Tims lives in a mobile home. Mobile home values increased 90% in the revaluation. Single-family home values increased 72%.

Michael Healy, who served on the Freeport Board of Assessment Review for over 25 years, purchased a home in Brunswick last year and argued against delaying the revaluation.

“The 2022 assessment is unjustly discriminatory and illegal, and it should be remedied,” he said. “(The assessor) should be allowed to complete the process. Anyone unhappy about the result has the appeal process.”

Property owners have six months to appeal new assessments from a revaluation.

Town Attorney Kristin Collins said she was not concerned about the town running afoul of the state law requiring municipal assessments to average at least 70% of market value, since the town will use the 58% figure from last year. She said courts evaluate the constitutionality of assessments by determining if they are equitable in a community.


“If the feeling is that the values overall may be too high for the taxpayers to bear and we want to hold off on that for a year, that’s not necessarily creating inequity,” Collins said. “We are meeting the state standard for accuracy.”

Ankeles, who also serves as a state representative, said the Brunswick legislative delegation has discussed the revaluation process and is working to submit emergency legislation to address what he called a “regressive” property tax system.

“I hope this is the wake-up call,” Ankeles said. “We look like the canary in the coal mine. This is going to happen elsewhere.”

Bath is currently undergoing similar revaluation.

Some homeowners facing steep tax hikes could see them rise even higher next year depending on the state of the residential real estate market.

“And if the bubble bursts?” Town Manager John Eldridge asked.

“We’ll send the values down,” Burns said. “Our goal is to assess as close to market value as possible … (and) be equitable to make sure all property classes are assessed equally.”

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