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City's property values up slightly; high school track to get resurfaced


April 16, 2018
BERLIN – At a City Council meeting on Monday, April 9, the City Manager and Assessment Supervisor reviewed data on property sales values of last year and determined that there has been a moderate improvement. Also, the council waived the bidding process for resurfacing the running track at the high school in order to hire the only licensed installer in the area.

City Manager James Wheeler reported that the housing market for tax year 2017 is 96.2 percent. The data is based on a median ratio calculated between Oct. 1, 2016 through September 30, 2017. That percentage shows that, on average, properties sold at 3.8 percent higher than the assessed evaluation.

"Our values have fluctuated, and it is good news that these are not way off," said Wheeler.

Property values were mostly substantially higher than market values between 2008 and 2014. Assessments were way down in 2015, and the city lost close to $70 million.

Assessment Supervisor Bryan Chevarie confirmed that sales are higher than assessed values and that some properties have doubled the assessed value.

Councilor Lucie Remillard is a realtor who said she can concur with the data based on her field experience.

Mayor Paul Grenier asked about multi-family properties and Chevarie said those too are selling moderately higher than assessed value.

Grenier asked about properties that are valued at more than $200,000 and Chevarie responded that those properties "are not coming in vastly below assessment value."

Chevarie added that there are approximately 15-20 abatement applications.

School Business Manager Bryan Lamirande told the Council that the running track at the high school was installed in 2014 and that resurfacing it will make it last another five to seven years. Maine Tennis and Track originally installed the track and are the only licensed company in the area, therefore, Wheeler said the project cannot be bid out.

The cost of the project is between $265,000 and $275,000. Councilor Remillard said that funding the project is in the budget.

Councilor Michael Rozek questioned to warranty and suggested Lamirande to look into making sure that the track will hold up in cold weather and have long term durability.

Maine Track and Tennis uses the process of California Products Black Top Coat.

The Council carried a motion to waive the bidding process and to hire the Maine company.

The project is scheduled to begin in June after the school closes for the summer.

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