Ocean State tax appeal goes to state

By Stephen Betts | Oct 08, 2017
Ocean State Job Lot opened its Rockland store in March 2014.

Rockland — The city is preparing for a legal battle with Ocean State Job Lot over its assessment. At stake is more than $55,000 annually in property taxes.

Ocean State filed a request in January 2015 for a property tax abatement from its 2014 assessment, claiming the actual value of its Camden Street commercial site was only about half of what Rockland has it assessed.

Assessor Dennis Reed rejected that request. The company appealed to the Rockland Board of Assessment Review which also rejected the request. Ocean State then filed an appeal to the Maine Board of Property Tax Review.

The state Board is scheduled to hear Ocean State's appeal at a hearing scheduled for Oct. 26 and 27. Once the board hears the arguments from Ocean State and Rockland, it will scheduled another meeting at which it will deliberate and issue a decision.

The state Board consists of a 15-member panel appointed by the governor. The Board hears appeals of municipal assessments of non-residential properties valued at more than $1 million.

Reed assessed the Ocean State property at $5,885,200 in 2012. The assessment is $2,760,200 more than the purchase price.

The company states in its abatement request that the assessment on the property should match the price paid for the property in December 2013. Ocean State Job Lot paid Wal-Mart $3,125,000 for the 94,000-square-foot commercial building located on 10.5 acres along Route 1 at the Rockport town line.

Wal-Mart sold the property after it relocated in October 2013 to a supercenter it built about 3 miles south on Route 1 in neighboring Thomaston. Wal-Mart placed a series of conditions on the sale to Ocean State, restricting what can be located in the building.

Those restrictions — which run until December 2038 — prohibit the property from being used for a supermarket larger than 35,000 square feet, a discount store of more than 50,000 square feet, a discount pharmacy, gambling operations, adult entertainment activities including the sale of sexually explicit videos or books, massage parlors or escort services.

Ocean State Job Lot opened its Rockland store in March 2014.

The retail store occupies 40,000 square feet of the building and leases 10,000 square feet to Dollar Tree store which opened in the summer of 2015.

The current assessment on Ocean State's property has risen to $6.1 million and its tax bill in 2017 is $135,000. Ocean State is Rockland's 10th highest taxpayer.

Rockland held a closed-door executive session Oct. 2 to discuss a legal matter and is scheduled to hold another one on Wednesday, Oct. 11. The city will be talking with its attorney on the upcoming hearing before the state.

Comments (4)
Posted by: Dale Hayward | Oct 08, 2017 13:26

Ocean State is not using the entire building so they feel they should not be taxed for that portion, just maybe. The way Rockland operates is astounding and pitiful, and will get no better. We look at pennies and ignore the dollars. Tax relief will never come in Rocklandia because salaries and benefits are too high, keep going up and the city council has not ability to restrain the budget process and show accountability as long as we keep electing folks who have ties and too much in common like Main Street, the arts, and free stuff. Not for profits and non profits are killing our tax base. Goodwill pays no property taxes however we are fighting with Ocean State over an amount that is about 16 to 1/8 of what Goodwill should be paying. Go figure. Selective Government is the way for Rockland. Let's tack on another fee for the tourist to entire the city by putting toll gates at each end of the city and stick to the cruise ships since no one can figure out the actual impact the folks from the ships have in Rockland. Most people I saw the other day from a ship had no packages with them. Go figure. Rockland is sliding down hill to meet the sea. Camden by the sea, Rockland is now known for Mount Demo. We will pay big time for the sweetheart deal and the Public Works Director will get another promotion for incompetent handling of the entire issue. Keep it up, I just love it here. Warm and fuzzy every day.



Posted by: Dale Hayward | Oct 08, 2017 13:26

Ocean State is not using the entire building so they feel they should not be taxed for that portion, just maybe. The way Rockland operates is astounding and pitiful, and will get no better. We look at pennies and ignore the dollars. Tax relief will never come in Rocklandia because salaries and benefits are too high, keep going up and the city council has not ability to restrain the budget process and show accountability as long as we keep electing folks who have ties and too much in common like Main Street, the arts, and free stuff. Not for profits and non profits are killing our tax base. Goodwill pays no property taxes however we are fighting with Ocean State over an amount that is about 16 to 1/8 of what Goodwill should be paying. Go figure. Selective Government is the way for Rockland. Let's tack on another fee for the tourist to entire the city by putting toll gates at each end of the city and stick to the cruise ships since no one can figure out the actual impact the folks from the ships have in Rockland. Most people I saw the other day from a ship had no packages with them. Go figure. Rockland is sliding down hill to meet the sea. Camden by the sea, Rockland is now known for Mount Demo. We will pay big time for the sweetheart deal and the Public Works Director will get another promotion for incompetent handling of the entire issue. Keep it up, I just love it here. Warm and fuzzy every day.



Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Oct 08, 2017 09:59

Dale that list is much longer. Going way back the Samoset resort built it's new property just over the line in Rockport, home depot was nearly lost and forced to build a much smaller store. Now fuller Auto mall is fighting to expand. The cost is much higher than you think



Posted by: Dale E. Landrith Sr. | Oct 08, 2017 07:33

Is Rockland about to discover the real cost of denying WalMart to build their supercenter on the site?



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