Rockland negotiating with Ocean State on tax value

By Stephen Betts | Nov 01, 2017
Photo by: Stephen Betts OSJ, Ocean State Job Lot's parent corporation, is seeking to have the taxable value of its property at 265 Camden St. in Rockland reduced.

Rockland — Rockland is negotiating with Ocean State Job Lot over the taxable value of its Camden Street property, but no deal has yet been reached.

The negotiation could be close to a resolution, however, since the two parties agreed to forgo a hearing that had been scheduled for Oct. 26 and 27 before the Maine Board of Property Tax Review.

City Manager Tom Luttrell said Wednesday, Nov. 1, that the hearing was canceled to allow the two parties to negotiate.

At stake is up to $55,000 annually in property taxes that the city would receive from the retail chain.

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 what Rockland has it assessed at.

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.

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 it in December 2013. Ocean State Job Lot paid Walmart $3,125,000 for the 94,000-square-foot commercial building located on 10.5 acres along Route 1 at the Rockport town line.

Walmart sold the property after it relocated in October 2013 to a supercenter it built about three miles south on Route 1 in neighboring Thomaston. Walmart 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 company also has filed for a permit from the city to renovate vacant space between Ocean State and the Dollar Tree Store for a Harbor Freight Tools store to move into the space.

The current assessment on Ocean State's property at 265 Camden St. has risen to $6.1 million and its tax bill in 2017 is $135,000. Ocean State is Rockland's 10th-highest taxpayer.

Rockland City Council held closed-door executive sessions on  Oct. 2 and Oct. 11 about the assessment issue.

Comments (3)
Posted by: Dale Hayward | Nov 02, 2017 14:44

I will ask for an abatement since I paid $12,500 for my house and is assessed for around $95,00 today. This is a joke for a big company to take advantage of a town that is feeding them many bucks a day. Get over it Ocean State or go back to Rhode Island.

Posted by: Kendall Merriam | Nov 01, 2017 16:09

Hmmm...maybe all property owners should negotiate their property taxes? Seems like Rockland admin. is willing to regularly do this with businesses.

Posted by: David E Myslabodski | Nov 01, 2017 14:46

Question . . .

Who else pays taxes based on the buying price???

So people will "sell" their home to their kids for one dollar . . . . .

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