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Easton town manager attributes mill rate increase to recent revaluation

EASTON, Maine — When residents of Easton receive tax bills in the coming weeks, some might notice an increase in payments compared to last year, Town Manager Jim Gardner said Tuesday, Aug.17.

Gardner attributes the recent mill rate increase to what he called a long overdue revaluation of the town’s residential homes and commercial and industrial businesses. The mill rate will change from 15.7 in 2020 to 16.2 per $1,000 of property value.

Starting in 2015, Easton reassessed residential properties after realizing that the town had not completed a revaluation since the 1990s. As the town completed revaluations for commercial businesses and its two major industrial employers — Huber Engineered Woods and McCain Foods — the mill rate increased from 17.4 to 18.5 in 2018.

The mill rate decreased the following two years to 17.4 and 15.7, respectively, before this year’s increase.

“If your home is valued at $100,000 and you were paying $1,570 on your tax bill [before the revaluation], this year you’ll pay $1,620,” Gardner said. 

But this year’s increase more accurately reflects the taxable value of homes and businesses and is also due to increases in school and county-related tax bills, he said. Gardner anticipates the town completing revaluations every five years to ensure more accurate mill rates.

The town also saw an increase in state revenue sharing of approximately $24,000 and a $5,000 increase in the Homestead Exemption, a state program that provides $25,000 for property tax purposes, so long as the homeowner is a permanent resident.

“When you’re left with a .5 increase [in mill rate], that’s not bad. It could’ve been a lot worse. We’re using all our resources to keep it down or have a modest, small raise,” Gardner said. “It allows us to take care of everything that we’re supposed to, like our schools.”

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