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The Biddeford City Council voted at their August 3 meeting to use new revenues to reduce the property tax commitment for Fiscal Year 2022, ensuring that any tax increases seen by property owners will be due to property valuation changes.
“Outside of their tax bills, we know our residents are likely to see substantial increases in both their water and power bills this year,” said Mayor Alan Casavant. “I think it’s important to look at the big picture and help stabilize expenses for residents, especially this year when we have extra sources of revenues to help make that possible.”
The new FY22 tax rate of $18.23 per $1,000 in taxable value is down 9.08% from FY21’s rate of $20.05. This decrease reflects higher property values on average throughout the city. A citywide market value update was completed this year in order to assure that assessed values for property in the city are equitable and reflective of recent real estate market trends.
“It’s a common misconception that a market update means that the City is collecting more property tax revenue as a whole, but that isn’t the case,” Nicholas Desjardins, the City’s Assessor, said. “The City is actually collecting slightly less property tax revenue in total compared to last year.”
Some individual homeowners will still see increases to their tax bill this year, but these changes will directly reflect increases in the value of their property, not increases in the City’s budget.
“Citywide, property values increased by about 10% on average. Generally, if your home’s value increases by less than the average citywide increase of 10%, you will see a decrease in your tax bill this year. If your home value increases by more than 10%, you will see an increase in your tax bill, and if your home value increases by just about 10%, your tax bill will be about the same as last year,” Desjardins said.
While the market’s impact on each property is unique, 2-4 unit apartment buildings, 5+ unit buildings, as well as some various mixed-use downtown properties are set to see larger property tax increases on average overall compared to most single-family homes. The Assessing Department has contacted affected property owners by mail to alert them of the expected impacts.
“The Council’s investment strategy in the downtown over the last several years has been successful in generating additional private investment and additional value in our downtown properties,” City Manager James Bennett said. “It is because of this strategic decision making that single-family homeowners are not seeing significant tax burden shifts.”
Property owners can contact the Assessing Department at 207-284-9003 to confirm their new property values beginning in mid-August, or will see the values on their next tax bill. Tax bills are set to be sent out by the end of the month.
More information about the market update can be found at www.biddefordmaine.org/marketupdate.