To the Editor: Arbitrary values

To the Editor:

I’m writing in response to Bar Harbor Assessor Steven Weed’s recent letter to the editor.

Much of what you wrote about the recent assessment may be true, but there is a huge problem with hiring an outside company to do your assessments.

When the last reevaluation was done in Bar Harbor back in 2006, the assessment on our small (624 square feet) home in Town Hill seemed extremely high. My husband went through all the proper channels to appeal, and the value was dropped by $20K. The assessed value still seemed high, but at that point we felt we had exhausted all routes of appeals. Several years later when we wanted to use the house as collateral for a business loan, the independent appraiser valued the property at $50K less than the value that the town was using for tax purposes.

As soon as the recent reevaluation letter came out, I made an appointment to talk to the company, as was directed on the letter. A woman asked several questions about the house. At one point I mentioned that we were having problems with the water being brown, so we were unable to rent the property at this time. Her response was, “Who supplies your water?” I answered that it was a well, but I thought that was an odd question. If her company just did the reevaluation, wouldn’t they know that everyone in that area has well water?

I also asked her if the reevaluation was based on houses of the same size that had recently sold. She told me that it was. I am wondering where they are. There aren’t many houses that small left in the area. Most of them have been torn down to build larger homes. The last time that I had the house appraised, they had to use homes in Surry and Franklin for comps.

I think that instead of just going across the board and raising everyone’s property value by a certain percentage, there should have been some time put into assessing the actual value of properties in the town. I understand that I have to pay property tax, but I would like to pay based on what my house is worth, not some arbitrary value set by an outside company.

Chantal M. Longo-Guess

Town Hill

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