UPDATE: Wiscasset’s new tax rate explained, twice

Wed, 09/13/2023 - 8:00pm

UPDATE: Town Manager Dennis Simmons announced the following on Tuesday, Sept. 19, before the night’s selectmen’s meeting at 6 p.m. at the town office:

“While entering the recently approved tax commitment figures into the town’s TRIO system, a small error was found in the non-property tax revenue calculation. The result is an increase in non-property revenue of $83,422. This reduces the property tax commitment slightly, lowering the mil rate from the approved $17.182 (per thousand dollars of assessed valuation)  to $17.047.  The selectboard will be asked to void the approved commitment warrant and approve the recalculated warrant.

“I apologize for the error and any confusion this may have caused,” Simmons wrote.

Original post: Wiscasset selectmen set the property tax rate Wednesday night, Sept. 13 at $17.18 per thousand dollars of assessed valuation. While last year’s rate was $20.08, the drop does not translate to lower tax bills, Chair Sarah Whitfield explained via email in response to questions after the meeting:

“In order to get us up to the state valuation, (the assessor's agent) increased all residential properties by 25% and commercial by 6% (commercial did not see as big a jump in sale prices). This does not mean taxes are going up 25%. The increase in value drops the mil rate, but that does not translate into a drop in taxes either. Because it is across the board, if the budget was the same as last year, what people pay in taxes would remain the same. The budget is up about 10% so one might expect to see a 10% increase in taxes. We did pick up some valuation from CMP and residential building so that is helping to offset some of the increased budget.

“We have increased the overlay to reduce the impact on expected revenue loss from the expected (Maine Yankee) tax appeal. Their bill for this year should be $1.5 million but because they will appeal they only have to pay what they paid this year, which is just under $600,000. This means if we spend our entire budget and non-property tax revenues are just what we estimated, we will be short $900,000 in revenue. What it boils down to is this: $250,000 home, $5,020 in taxes last year ($250 x $20.08), add 25% $312,500 ($312.5 x $17.182) $5,369.38, or an increase of $349, which is a 7% increase.”