Opinion

Efficiency rebates and work sessions

If you enjoyed the unseasonably warm January, you may be wondering how cold the remaining months of winter will be. Staff have received several telephone calls from Caribou homeowners who have installed heat pumps to get ahead of any extreme temperatures.

If this is something you are thinking about, the Efficiency Maine website has great information about heat pumps and the rebates available. There are incentives for both residential and commercial installations.

As with any rebate, there are guidelines such as using a registered vendor to install a qualified unit. The tax assessment department can help with this project since Aroostook County homes with a tax assessed value of under $80,000 (land and building value before any exemptions are applied) qualify for a higher rebate. The assessed value can be found on your annual property tax bill or you can contact me. The website to visit for program details is: www.efficiencymaine.com

January and February also tend to be a slower time for area retailers. Add in the pandemic and our area small business really need you. Our local business owners go above and beyond to meet the needs of their neighbors by providing goods and services essential to the community, and they contribute a great deal to the tax base. This same tax base is the foundation for raising the necessary funds to finance municipal and county government as well as the local school department. 

This month, business owners will receive a mailing from department staff to list the machinery, equipment, computers, furniture and fixtures that are used in their operations. The business personal property is taxed at the same rate as real estate, and without this additional taxable value, the annual municipal tax rate would be higher for all taxpayers. Looking at the big picture, it just makes sense to spend your dollars at home where it can do the most good for our community. 

If you own a business, please know that the tax assessment department is your partner. Staff members are available to answer your questions, can visit your operation to help with listing your property and will assist you with determining what equipment may be exempt from taxation. There are statutory deadlines for exemption applications, so please let us know if you have any questions. 

I will be hosting two evening work sessions in the multipurpose room at the Caribou Wellness Center, on March 10 and March 24 (yes, there will be snacks,) from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. to answer any questions and help with form completion. 

Sales questionnaires have been mailed out to taxpayers who have purchased a property since January 2019. Please return the completed forms by March 1. If you have any questions about how to answer or why this information is important, I would be happy to speak to you. 

As always, if you have questions about permits, exemptions, or your property value, please email me at pthompson@cariboumaine.org or call me at (207) 493 – 5961 (my direct line). I am grateful every day to be in your service.

Penny Thompson is Caribou’s tax assessor and building official. 

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