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South End likely to face steepest valuation hikes

By Stephen Betts | Nov 30, 2019
Photo by: Stephen Betts

Rockland — Properties in Rockland's South End are likely to face the steepest assessment increases as part of the adjustment of values that is soon to start.

KRT Appraisal is expected to begin a review of records and the exterior of properties beginning next month in order to adjust property assessments in time for next year's tax bills.

Assessor Roxy LaFrance acknowledged Wednesday, Nov. 27, that the property sales since April 1, 2018, that show the highest sale prices compared to their current assessments have been in the South End (south of Pleasant Street and east of Main Street).

The new assessments will be sent to property owners sometime during the middle of next year and hearings can be held with the company by anyone who requests a meeting.

Properties that see their assessments increase more than the city-wide average will pay more in property taxes even if the municipal, school, and county budgets remain the same.

The South End has seen numerous sales during the past few years with some of the new owners spending more than the purchase price on renovations.

The trend of significantly higher sale prices continued with sales since July. A single-family home on Ocean Street sold for 32 percent more than the assessment placed on it by the city. Another on Pacific Street sold for 38 percent more than the assessment. Another on Linden Street sold for 42 percent more than its assessment. And yet another on Fulton Street sold for 42 percent more than its assessment.

In June 2019, a house on Ocean Street, assessed for $141,000, was purchased and the new owner had the structures demolished to make way for a $450,000 house and garage.

LaFrance said that sales on Dodge Mountain and Samoset Road have been coming in at or less than their assessed values during the past two years.

In her budget message to the City Council earlier this year, LaFrance stated, "While our last state valuation showed our assessments to be within the state's standards, there have been many changes in the market since 2005, including the real estate bubble, the bursting of that bubble, and now the rebounding from the crash."

KRT field representatives will carry picture identifications, municipal letters of introduction, and have their vehicles listed with both the assessor’s office and police department.

The general rule of thumb for adjustments of valuations is that one third of property owners will pay more, one third will pay less, and one third will see no change – contingent on no change in the amount of taxes being raised.

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Comments (16)
Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Dec 02, 2019 14:27

Putting a tower beside your property will not necessarily reduce the value. My property is abutted by a neglected property. The City assesses these two properties worth as about the same. I do my best to maintain my property and the owners next door just collect rent. Every year my taxes go up and the house next door deteriorates. If I complain I am a troublemaker. Some people just have no sense of fairness.

Posted by: Stephen Betts | Dec 02, 2019 09:08


The city can conduct a revaluation that increases assessments for municipal property tax purposes.

But the state's valuation of a community would be independent of that revaluation. The state reviews sales on its own and that state valuation is what determines the amount of state education aid.


Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Dec 02, 2019 08:54


In order to better clarify my remarks let me embellish.  I know that a City can not just randomly lower it's valuation.  However it has been at least 10 years since a re-val was conducted.  Therefore the thinking was perhaps our valuation is incorrect and we should conduct a study to determine if it may be higher that it should be.  If it was determined so, then the city would fair better with the school funding formula. Lower valuation means more school money for the district.  My point being if the re-val turns out to show a higher overall valuation for the city this could lower school funding and therefore increase taxes. Higher school budgets means more taxes for everyone as we have seen over and over in the last few years.

Posted by: Stephen Betts | Dec 01, 2019 10:52


A municipality cannot simply lower its valuation to get more state education aid or state revenue sharing. The state determines the value for those purposes. A revaluation or adjustment of values is done so that the property tax burden is distributed based on accurate assessment of properties.

Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Dec 01, 2019 10:42

Thought the proposed purpose of this re-evaluation was to improve our standings in the complicated school funding formula.  If I understand this correctly, by lowering the city's valuation it should increase school funding from the State. However if valuations increase this will lower state funding, therefore creating more of a budget problem not less. So taxpayers get hit with a double whammy more taxes through increased valuation and more taxes through higher budgets. Kentucky is looking better all the time.

Posted by: Ananur Forma | Dec 01, 2019 07:31

Not mentioned here:

if the proposed cell tower goes up next to Pizza Hut and Pen Bay Acres and our property values go down, then we pay less taxes and the rest of Rockland will pay more!!!This is NOT good for South End people. Come January 7th Tuesday 5:15pm at Planning Board mtg. to help stop the cell tower from going up on Rte. 1 next to a neighborhood. We do NOT want to set a precedent. Please come.

Posted by: Nina Reed | Nov 30, 2019 14:33

drucinda, i lived down the other corner from you, across from the store. the green house on the hill.i purchased it in 1972. i couldnt keep up with taxes so i let it go.

Posted by: Nina Reed | Nov 30, 2019 14:32

drucinda, i lived down the other corner from you, across from the store. the green house on the hill.i purchased it in 1972. i couldnt keep up with taxes so i let it go.

Posted by: Drucinda Woodman | Nov 30, 2019 12:06

We just removed the asbestos siding and disposed of it and replaced it with vinyl, so in the "no good deed goes unpunished " principle of Rockland taxes it will cost us dearly.  I remember when we put in flower gardens and painted years ago and we had a nice note placed on our door I think from the Rockland beatification or something... the next thing we knew our taxes went up by over a third.  When our neighbor went to the city and complained they told her "Just think how much you could sell your home for"!  So the message at the time seemed to be "If you don't like it, move!"  It's getting more like Bar Harbor and Camden all the time... except their tax rates are lower...


Posted by: Drucinda Woodman | Nov 30, 2019 11:52

Yes, Nina and James! We were able to buy a house in Southend 36 years ago because of the lower cost.Our kids grew up here but can barely afford to rent, let alone buy a place here now! Very sad to see sound houses being torn down, houses empty or  used only as summer rentals...Neighborhood disappearing.All this while so many are seeking a place to live!              Rockland should be taking care of  their own families & citizens ,not just attracting new money.

Posted by: Nina Reed | Nov 30, 2019 10:04

lost mine 15 years ago due to rising taxes. the only people that can afford these taxes are the ones that come from out of state.

Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Nov 30, 2019 09:59

Way back in Camden this happened and the tax office said pay or move. They all had to move. Village living comes with a price now, TAXES! Sadly!

Posted by: James York | Nov 30, 2019 09:08

Good way to push more families out of the Southend- and get property on the market for seasonal rentals, taxes up 8% last, one of the highest mill rates in the state - why not stick it to long standing families in the southend. Give me a break


Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Nov 30, 2019 07:30

It used to be survival of the fittest, now it is survival of the richest.

Posted by: Katherine Holland | Nov 30, 2019 07:07

Is there a "view tax" in Rockland? The high sale prices for some homes in the South End are generally due to their proximity to the water. I hope that those who don't have that water view won't be made to suffer higher assessments.


Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Nov 30, 2019 05:45

I look at this and wonder how much longer I will be able to remain in my home of over fifty years. :(  Am sure many are wondering the same thing.

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