MOUNT DESERT — With about 2,100 year-round residents, Mount Desert has 3.9 percent of the population of Hancock County.
But it accounts for 16.4 percent of the county’s total taxable property value, according to the proposed 2018 valuations issued Sept. 20 by the Property Tax Division of Maine Revenue Services.
Mount Desert’s proposed valuation for next year is nearly $2.13 billion, an increase of $110 million over the valuation for the current year, which is $96 million higher than the year before.
Mount Desert’s proposed valuation is more than twice Ellsworth’s $1.06 billion and far ahead of Bar Harbor’s $1.58 billion.
None of Hancock County’s 34 other municipalities has a property valuation of more than $1 billion. Southwest Harbor’s proposed valuation is $621.7 million; Tremont’s, $497.9 million; and Trenton’s, $308 million.
The Hancock County town with the smallest valuation is Frenchboro at $12.5 million.
The state’s proposed valuations for 2018 represent “the full equalized value of all taxable property in the municipality as of April 1, 2016,” said Mike Rogers, supervisor of municipal services of Maine Revenue Services, in a letter to municipal officials.
Mount Desert Assessor Kyle Avila said in a memo to the town manager and Board of Selectmen that the state’s proposed valuation “will be used in the calculation of Mount Desert’s portion of county appropriations, school subsidies and state revenue sharing to be distributed in 2018.”
Mount Desert is one of only a dozen municipalities in Maine with more than $2 billion of property value. The largest is Portland, with a valuation of more than $8 billion.
Mount Desert’s valuation, which is roughly the same as that of Brunswick and Lewiston, is high because of the large number of multimillion-dollar summer homes, primarily in Northeast Harbor and Seal Harbor. The high valuation is the reason the town’s property tax rate is so low compared to that of its neighbors. Mount Desert property owners this year are paying $7.42 per $1,000 of assessed value.