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Town Revaluation Underway

KRT Appraisals will be conducting a town-wide revaluation starting July 8 and continuing throughout the summer.

Meet the Data Collectors (and their vehicles):
Gerry PhotoGerrys vehicles

Pat's PhotoPat's Car

These are the most FAQs I have received regarding the revaluation:
Why are we doing this?
As everyone knows, the cost of houses and land have increased dramatically, especially over the last 4 or 5 years. The last time we had a town-wide revaluation was 2002. In 2007 we increased building values 15%. Now we are at the point where our assessments are half of what properties are selling for (certified ratio = 50%). If the values of all properties rose equally, then we could just raise all the assessments by the same percentage. But for example, in our area the value of shore front properties rose faster than other properties. The purpose of this revaluation is to make sure everyone is paying their fair share and no more.
How does the revaluation process work? Video

Will they be contacting me to make an appointment to see my house?
No. Trying to set up appointments with every homeowner in town would be a logistical nightmare and would drastically increase the time (and cost) it would take to perform the revaluation. So they rely on seeing enough of the homes that are occupied to establish baselines to enable them to make assumptions in similar houses that they were not able to get in.
Do I have to let them in?
No. In fact many homes are vacant during the day and the data collectors will be limited to an exterior inspection. However if you are home, it would be very helpful if you could allow them to take a brief tour of your house. A thorough evaluation involves seeing both the outside and the inside of the house. One factor in establishing the value of a structure is the grade or quality of the construction, which can be difficult to do from the outside (e.g. are the floor joists 2"x 8" or 2" x 10"? hardwood or vinyl flooring? laminated or granite countertops? typical plumbing fixtures or gold plated?). By allowing them to look at the interior of your house, you will improve the quality of your assessment and of the overall revaluation. More Info here.
What if my house is messy when they show up?
You do not have to let them in your house, but bear in mind that this is what these people do every day and they have seen everything. They will not even notice - much less care - if your house is in disarray. If they're looking at your floor, it is to determine what material it is, not whether it needs vacuuming. If they're looking at your counters it is to determine the countertop material, not to marvel at the half-eaten PB & J. Based on my own experience as an assessor (which is minuscule compared to these guys), when in someone's house you are so focused on looking for the information you need, you truly do not see the socks on the floor or the unmade bed. On the other hand if you have rotting corpses stored in your basement, it would probably be best for everyone if you deny entry.
Does this mean my taxes are going up?
Maybe, maybe not. In fact there is roughly a 66% chance your taxes will not go up. The rule of thumb for revaluations is that about a third of us will see an increase in taxes, a third will stay about the same, and a third will go down. Remember, the tax burden (the amount of spending approved at town meeting) stays the same. The revaluation just distributes that burden more equitably based upon the value of your property, as required by State law.
Will the assessed value of my property go up?
Almost certainly. Market values of properties have increased dramatically in recent years, leaving our assessed values behind. So don't panic when you receive your new assessment, because nearly everyone's assessment is going up, but not everyone's taxes are going up. Remember; 1/3 up, 1/3 same, 1/3 down.
How can my assessment go up and taxes stay the same or go down?
Alright I was trying to avoid throwing math at you, but since you asked...remember your taxes are calculated by multiplying the assessed value of your property by the mill rate. The mill (or mil) rate is calculated by dividing the total assessed value of the town by the amount needed to be raised by taxes and is currently $16.30 per thousand dollars of value. So if the total value of the town doubles as is anticipated, and spending levels stay the same, the mill rate will be halved. So if your property is currently assessed at $100,000, your taxes are $1,630.00 (100 thousands x 16.3). If your new assessment is $200,000, but the mill rate drops to $8.15 your taxes will still be $1630.00 (200 x $8.15). If your new assessment is $150,000 and the mill rate is $8.15, then your taxes will drop to $1,222.50 (150 x $8.15). Please remember these are just hypotheticals for explanation purposes.
What if I don't want them on my property when I'm not there?
The data collectors will not enter property that has a 'No Trespassing' sign posted. Again, these are professionals who have visited thousands of properties so I would encourage people to help them get their job done as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Obviously, if there is something on your property that poses a hazard to the data collectors, then a 'No Trespassing' sign makes good sense.
Why are we using an appraisal firm from Massachusetts?
The Board of Selectmen/Assessors and I looked at several companies. KRT had a favorable price and timeline. With our certified ratio at 50% (which means our Homestead, Tree Growth, and other reimbursements from the State are reduced to 50%), time was critical. At a meeting with dozens of other assessors from around the State, I spoke with a number of assessors from towns and cities that had recently undergone a revaluation. Everyone that had used KRT was pleased with their work.
Some people have expressed concern about the firm being from Massachusetts and that they will use Massachusetts's house prices to assess ours. Assessing a town is the same process wherever you go. You must gather and evaluate sales data from the town and if there is not enough data from within the town, from similar towns in the area. From this data you can establish tables that when populated with the specifics of a property and/or house, will calculate an accurate current market value for that area.
When is this going to happen?
Notification postcards are being sent out in batches of a couple hundred at a time ahead of the visits by the data collectors, which will be starting Monday, July 8. If you haven't received your postcard, it just means that you're neighborhood is not on the schedule yet.
I hope they will be well received by our residents. After all, they are just professionals trying to do the job we have all hired them to do.

For more info:
See Press Release from KRT Appraisals and their Revaluation FAQs
Also:  IAAO Revaluation FAQs

- John Bell
  Waterford Assessor's Agent
  Certified Maine Assessor

Five Kezar Road Will be Closed at the Warren Brook Crossing for a Week Beginning August 5th

The washed out culvert will be replaced with a box culvert and the road bed will be raised several feet to prevent future flooding. The project will take less time and consequently less money by closing the road. Access will be through the Lovell - Waterford Road which is being improved in anticipation of the increased traffic. Local emergency services will be made aware of the situation and will plan accordingly.

The hope is that by closing the road for a week now and fixing it properly, it will avoid a situation where a severe washout or flood could close the road indefinitely at a time of year when the Lovell - Waterford Road is inaccessible - a planned inconvenience now versus an unanticipated extreme hardship.

N. Waterford Food Truck Park is Open

Food Truck Park-2A
Richie, Dottie & Spencer Morse have transformed the former Melby's parking lot into an attractive and busy food truck park. By all accounts the park has been a big success as people again have a place in town to grab a bite to eat and visit with friends and neighbors. Check the North Waterford Food Truck Park Facebook page for the vendors' schedules.

Tree Removal in South Waterford

Sheldon Rice owner of Rice Tree Service in Waterford,
explains some of the process to grandson Beckett, as Seth
Marquis (upper left) prepares to be hoisted to the top of the tree.

Marquis prepares to attach a strap to the top of the tree.

A piece of the trunk is lowered to the ground.

Cemetery Cleanup Time!

The Town of Waterford requests that all old flowers and accessories be removed from the Waterford cemeteries by May 6, 2024. After that date they will be removed at the cemeterian's discretion.

Newell Andrews, Cemeterian

The Town Report is Here.

They can be picked up at the Town Office or you can download it here.

If your transfer station windshield sticker looks like this one, you are all set until March 2026. If not, you need a new one.

23-26 Sticker
Starting January 1, access to the transfer station will require that you have a current sticker. These stickers have been available since April and are good for 3 years.

If you don't have a current sticker, getting one is easy. Click here for information.

Waterford's Boston Cane Awarded to 106-Year Old Veteran

On December 27th, John L'Hote of Rice Road was the recipient of the first Boston Cane awarded in nearly two decades.
For more information on Mr. L'Hote, see the Advertiser Democrat story here.
Jamie-Todd Crop
Select Board members Jamie Toohey and Todd Sawyer join John L'Hote after he was awarded the Boston Cane.

Waterford Santa is Another Huge Success!

Thanks to the generosity of Waterford citizens and the efforts and organization skills of the Waterford Santa (a/k/a Missy Lessard), many of Waterford's boys and girls will be having an especially fun and memorable Christmas!

Waterford Santa - Gifts - Copy (2)

Cemetery Newsletter Fall 2023

Newell Andrews, Waterford's Cemeterian, has provided a Cemetery Update for Fall 2023.

Baker Hill Road reconstruction project completed.

Baker HillThis project starts at the top of Baker Hill and runs to the easterly side of the pipeline, connecting two previously reconstructed sections of road.

New "Free" Building at Transfer Station.

After a several-year hiatus, the "free tent" is back but in a more permanent, attractive form.

IMG_4920 - Copy

Waterford was featured in "My Maine Hometown" series on WGME 13's Good Day Maine morning show.

Host Johnny Maffei spoke with several people in Waterford. Videos can be seen here.

Parvo Virus Being Found in Area Dogs

According to Robert Larrabee a regional Animal Control Officer, the virus has been found in several area towns including Waterford. The gastrointestinal virus can be lethal if not promptly treated by a veterinarian. Dog owners should make sure their dogs - especially puppies - are up-to-date on their vaccinations. Get more information on the Parvo virus here.

New Transfer Station Windshield Stickers Available Now

These new stickers will be registered to a particular vehicle. You will need to fill out a registration form for each vehicle on which you want a sticker. You can pre-register for your sticker here. You can then pick it up at the Town Office or have it mailed to you. You can also pick up registration forms at the Waterford and Stoneham town offices, as well as the transfer station. There is no fee for these stickers.

Public Service Announcement

If your Old Glory is getting tattered and faded, proper disposal is available by dropping it off at the town office or giving it to an attendant at the transfer station.

Annual Town Meeting Summary

Whether you were able to make it to the town meeting or not, Select Board chair Randy Lessard has written this great summary of what took place. See it here.

Town Reports are here!

Stop by the town office and pick one up or view the digital copy here.

Waterford's Judy Green elected Chairperson of SAD 17 School Board of Directors

Read the story in the Lewiston Sun Journal here, and don't forget to thank Judy for her service and especially for stepping up to the Chair during what has been a chaotic and divisive time for the Board.

Congratulations to Colin Holme, LEA's Executive Director and Waterford's Planning Board Chair! Colin was recognized as one of Maine's Clean Water Champions by the Natural Resources Council of Maine! 

Colin has been with LEA for over 20 years, all the way from intern to executive director. His extensive knowledge of shoreland zoning laws and our watershed community make him an invaluable advocate for our lakes. 
NRCM recognized leaders in river, lake, coastal water, and drinking water clean-up in celebration of the 50-year anniversary of the Clean Water Act. 
                                                                                                                       - Lakes Environmental Assoc.

Purdy Bridge replacement a success!

Purdy Brdge Before 1 - Copy

Purdy Bridge After 2 - Copy

More photos and story here.

Town purchases new plow truck.

2022 Western Star with stainless steel dump body replaces 2011 truck with significant rust issues.


Waterford Echoes Are Here!

Almost 40 years of the Waterford Historical Society's newsletter "Waterford Echoes" are now available here or by clicking on the Echoes link above. 40 years of fascinating articles, stories, and photos!

The Mysterious 'This Is Waterford' Sign

Ever wonder what the story behind this sign is?
Charlie Tarbell attempts to unravel the mystery...

Remembering Bill...

Journalist, Fireman, Land Steward - by Colin Holme
August 16th, 1949 – March 8th, 2020