Property values rise county-wideArticle from The Piscataquis Observer, Vol. 164, No. 40, October 02, 2002By Jessica LeeStaff WriterDOVER-FOXCROFT – A dramatic $60 million increase in the state property valuation for 2003 is on the horizon for Piscataquis County, according to preliminary figures released last week by the Maine Revenue Services.The overall valuation in the county is set to rise from $822.75 million in 2002 to $883.6 million, with the lion's share appropriated to Dover-Foxcroft and Greenville. The state based its annual valuation on real estate sales figures in each town, as of April 2001.According to the preliminary figures, Dover-Foxcroft's valuation may jump nearly $20 million in the coming year (from $149.3 million to $169.15 million) with Greenville's valuation increasing $16 million (from $128.75 million to $144.65 million).Officials in both towns agreed the jump is extraordinarily high, compared to an average annual increase of about $5 million for each town in the past."This is substantial," said Louis Durgin, Dover-Foxcroft's assessors agent. "I didn't expect the state's valuation to go up that much. Usually we get a few million here and there."Durgin said he is concerned about the figure-especially in light of the recent economic slump that theentire state is experiencing. The state valuation figures heavily in the municipal revenue sharing formula, thestate's education subsidy allocated to each community, as well as the county tax. Specifically, towns with higher valuations receive less municipal revenue sharing funds, less school subsidy and are required to pay more county tax, Durgin said.He said he does not yet know the origin of the town's valuation spike, but he said it is likely due to the town'sstatus as a service center community. Durgin added that the price of waterfront real estate in town is rising, as well.Greenville's jump is attributed to increased sales of real estate in the town, specifically waterfront property.Town Manager John Simko said that the town did prepare for the increase with a mini-revaluation this summer, when it was notified of the jump a few months ago. He said the town's revaluation will help "cushion the blow.""Things were way out of whack in Greenville," Simko said, because the town's assessment on properties was not up to date. As a popular destination for tourists and new homeowners, he added, Greenville is seeing a rise in property values, similar to that seen for years on the Maine coast.Monson and Guilford came in with more modest jumps in state valuation of about $4 million each, and the majority of the smaller towns are facing about $1 million new valuation, on average.The state has projected a downturn in valuation for three municipalities: Milo, Kingsbury Plantation and Shirley.Milo's anticipated slide is the most significant-a drop of about $3 million (from $62.6 million to $59.75 million). Town Manager Jane Jones said the town's drop in valuation is not unusual-at least not for Milo. Shesaid the town regularly experiences an "ebb and flow" in its state valuation, due to the 2-year-old figures used in the analysis."The figures are all computer driven," she said. "And it's been a bit of a roller coaster for Milo." Jones said the 2003 preliminary figure is almost equal to the town's valuation in 2001.The final valuation should be set this week, following a Sept. 27 meeting at the Piscataquis County Courthouse set aside to answer questions or address concerns from municipalities on the preliminary figures, according to David Ledew, supervisor of municipal services for the Maine Revenue Services' property tax division.Following are the preliminary valuations for 2003, compared to the final 2002 figures, for each municipality in Piscataquis County : * Abbot, $38.55 million (up from $36 million) * Atkinson, $14.4 million (up from $14.35 million) * Beaver Cove, $32.85 million (up from $31.35 million) * Bowerbank, $32.65 million (up from $29.85 million) * Brownville, $33.75 million (up from $32.3 million) * Dover-Foxcroft, $169.15 million (up from $149.3 million) * Greenville, $144.65 million (up from $128.75 million) * Guilford, $98.5 million (up from $94.15 million) * Kingsbury Plantation, $6.85 million (down from $6.9 million) * Lake View Plantation, $36.75 million (up from $34 million) * Medford, $11.25 million (up from $10.3 million) * Milo, $59.75 million (down from $62.6 million) * Monson, $38.2 million (up from $33.85 million) * Parkman, $28.4 million (up from $27.95 million) * Sangerville, $51.1 million (up from $48.15 million) * Sebec, $33.35 million (up from $31.15 million) * Shirley, $14.75 million (down from $14.95 million) * Wellington, $12.4 million (up from $12.2 million) * Willimantic, $25.3 million (up from $24.65 million) NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.