By Alex Malm
After multiple residents expressed their concerns about the assessed values of their properties during the last Town Council meeting, the Town Council had Steve Hamilton, the Town Assessor give a presentation and answer questions at the Feb. 7 meeting.
One of the things that was discussed during the meeting was in regards to abatements. Hamilton explained that the only way to remedy mistakes made to the 2021 valuations is through the abatement process.
Abatement requests are due in writing to the Assessing Department by March 1, from there the Town has until July 1 to answer each of the abatement requests.
“We strive to provide answers as quickly as possible as quickly as possible and have already begun processing,” said Hamilton.
As part of the abatement process, Hamilton said that they do inspections of the physical description information on each property, and they may do a property inspection. He said that the more information they are able to receive including the specific concerns a property owner may have the better.
After each of the abatements are analyzed they then provide a recommendation to the Town Council.
If denied property owners have a right to appeal.
“You can file an appeal as soon as you have a decision in your hand,” said Hamilton.
Hamilton said that those who have questions or need help filling out the abatement form can contact the Assessor’s Office.
An area that had some of the most vocal concerns is the residents who live in Forest Hills.
Chairman John Farrell said that he has a spreadsheet from the Forest Hill community that he gave to the Assessor and Town Manager and asked them to review it.
He said his understanding is that they had a number of properties jump over $200,000 in assessed value in one year. He said that it’s also not equivalent to what the sale prices are for that community.
It was explained by Hamilton that “The goal of assessing is not to create a value for property, it’s to create a mirror that will reflect the actions of buyers and sellers reflecting market value.”
He said that it’s the buyers and sellers who will create market value in an open market space.
“That’s the goal we strive for,” said Hamilton.
During the meeting it was explained by Farrell that they moved the assessments from every five years to every two years, so that way they would have incremental changes instead of major increases during one particular year.
Town Councilor Jim Butler said that there are alot of people in the audience from the community and said that he hopes that they will file abatement requests if they haven’t already.
“Let’s get those abatements in,” said Butler.
Kevin Smith, who until last week was the Town Manager for Londonderry, said that the meeting wasn’t the end of the process.
“Tonight’s not the end of the process,” said Smith.
He said that he shares the frustration with the disparity of the sale prices not matching up with the assessments.
Smith encouraged anyone that feels that their valuations aren’t correct to file for an abatement.
“If you haven’t gotten your abatement in, get your abatement in,” said Smith.
It was decided that the Council would have Hamilton come to the next Town Council meeting in order to give them another update.