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COVID in Assessment
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Senior Work Off and Valor Act 0 D. Webster We have applicants for the 2021 fiscal year, who have been approved for the senior work off program. Some of our applicants did get in some hours before the COVID shutdown. It appears that the applicants will not be able to complete their required hours to get the full exemption amount (1,000). The Council on Aging has requested that the Board of Assessors "forgive" the required work hours for this year and grant all the applicants the full exemption amount regardless of the hours worked. In Groveland we allow up to December 31 to complete their hours. I reviewed the COVID information on the DLS website and did not see any guidance or changes that would allow us to forgive the hours. Does anyone have information pertaining to this? If so, could you forward or guide me to where the information is? Thank you. Debby Webster - Groveland
by D. Webster
Tuesday, August 11, 2020
MAAO Education During COVID 2 C. Wilcock Melissa, in the community I work in we sent out letters stating that we would be doing inspections and asked them to call and schedule an appointment.  Response has been slow but positive.
by E. Blanchard
Friday, August 7, 2020
Property Inspections 0 P. Harring Hello What is your understanding of visiting properties for permits and sales verification? Is there any written decisions for our State?
by P. Harring
Tuesday, July 21, 2020
Re-Opening - Yes we have..... 1 E. Childs Thanks for sharing Ed....I know that Berlin is in the planning stages. Installation of "door window" counters have been in stalled for three offices so far. The Assessors Office has a larger counter for the maps and the counter computer, they are working on putting up a Plexiglas barrier, they will also be doing this in the Building Department.Town Meeting is the priory, the plan is to hold it outside at the Middle School, not sure how that will be set up, glad to have nothing to do with that. Then Elections.Lots of moving parts in this new crazy world.....Molly Reed Assessing Director Town of Berlin
by M. Reed
Tuesday, June 9, 2020
CPA Surcharge Exemption 1 K. Hanlon Hi all, I'm not sure if anyone else had the same question, but I finally was able to connect with the DLS.....their interpretation,, despite the wording, is that if your town has accepted the local option to extend exemption guidelines, then this also applies to CPA exemptions.
by K. Hanlon
Monday, May 11, 2020
TIMELY AND INTERESTING ARTICLE - MAY 7th City and Town 0 E. Childs Wanted to bring everyone's attention to Joanne Grazianos' article in the May 7th City and Town. "Potential Impacts of COVID-19 on Property Taxes: Things to Consider" - covers many of thoughts and questions we have shared in conversations and during the 1st installment of the "Listening Tour" zoom meeting series sponsored by the MAAO.   Here is a direct link to the issue, which also is emailed to anyone signed up through the DLS/Gateway website: you can copy/paste into your browser   The Policy Review committee strongly encourages Assessors take the time to give this article a full read!      
by E. Childs
Friday, May 8, 2020
Question(s) 3+: Looking To FY 2021 (and FY2022) amid Covid-19 3 E. Childs 1 - Not for FY21. For FY20, all departments have been asked to cut their remaining expense line items as much as we can in response to an anticipated revenue shortfall. 2 – No FY21 staffing reductions (it’s just me and one assistant). 3 – No FY21 contracts eliminated or reduced yet. 4 - Interim for FY21. Certification for FY22 (FY22 is when this COVID business will really smack us all in the face so that should be a doozy). 5 - I do the inspections myself on all residential permits, residential/commercial sales and residential cyclicals. PK handles commercial permits and personal property listing. Orleans is not a 653 community so thankfully I had a handle on our residential growth before the end of January. For 2020 sales I’m making exclusive use of MLS listings for photos of the interior at the time of the sale to check my data against; I’m reserving actual visits for the stuff I can’t figure out. For cyclicals, interior inspections are completely out of the question. In fact, to minimize contact with people as much as I can, I’m hand delivering a letter to them informing them 1.) of the day that I’ll be on their property and 2.) that I won’t be announcing my presence so please don’t be freaked if you see a fat guy in a yellow safety vest out your window. So far, the strategy has worked like gangbusters. My residents love getting the letter and are appreciative of the efforts we’re making to stay distanced. 6A - The one bummer for us has been no passport traffic; that’s a decent source of revenue for us. Almost every other counter-based function that we perform, we’ve been able to manage it digitally during this pandemic. So far, no complaints from our taxpayers. 6B - I think there’s some limited capacity to be a transaction center but I’d have to dig into it more. My absolute dream would be a situation where I can disperse and receive all my annual mailings electronically through our website (I&E’s, forms of list, sales verifications, statutory exemption/deferral apps, etc.). We kill entirely too many trees in our business; time to move into the modern age. 6C - I use my site all the time, direct residents to it frequently and try to think of ways to iterate on it constantly. Being grounded due to COVID has given me ample time to come up with a host of ideas for what will go up there. Trend reports on values and taxes and lots of other statistical stuff that would make the baseball stat nerds blush; I’ve got nothing but ideas. The trouble right now is that a good portion of Orleans’ considerably older population isn’t quite tech savvy enough to really be hip to it, so I’m figuring that my efforts now will really pay off with the next generation of retirees who are currently in their late 50s-early 60s and are just savvy enough with tablets and cellphones to get into it. 7- I went into my FY20 with a 92 median and I think we ended up at 96? I’d have to check my records when I’m back in my office next. People pay stupid money for not a lot of house in this town. Median taxable residential increase (non-growth) in FY20 for 101s was 2.43% and 1.69% for 102s. As for FY21, my gut feeling is to just leave everything alone and see how COVID impacts things. Looking quickly at my 2019 sales, my median ASR for 101s is .95 with a 7.7 COD and my 102s are .91 with a COD of 6. Not terrible (BLA may disagree) and not unexpected as I think the market in Orleans is finally cooling off; Orleans was back at pre-recession values in 2017 and continued to increase at 3% in 2018 and 2019. 8 - I heard these concerns today from some residents while I was out in the field. They seem to get the whole “this will impact your value next year, not this year” shtick although they don’t like hearing it because they’re struggling right now. Commercial…that’s a whole other ball of wax. We’re only 6% commercial in Orleans but that 6% is struggling mightily with this given how seasonal everything is. I’m at the point where I’m seeing nothing but negative PR for the town in 1.) sending out I&E’s to businesses that aren’t even open and 2.) sending out personal property listers, unannounced, to their premises to start counting chairs and computers. The optics just don’t look good at all.9 - I’m in certification in FY22 so yeah I’m already giving it some thought. Again, I don’t think Orleans is going to get hit too hard on the residential side of things as a result of COVID; people are still buying property in this town with gusto, even with everything shut down. How we’ll handle commercial and industrial…I’ll need to talk more with PK about that.
by B. Hinote
Monday, May 4, 2020
Question 2: Property Taxes and Covid-19? Decisions? 17 E. Childs Holliston: Select Board has voted:4th Quarter tax bills are now due June 1, 2020.Exemption deadline is extended to June 1, 2020.Interest and penalties on late payments for anything issued after March 10 are now waived if paid before June 30th, 2020.Today our Town Administrator asked my for language regarding an article to extend exemption dates. My question for all here is:If the Select Board has voted these options, is it necessary for Town Meeting to ratify them?
by K. Peirce
Wednesday, April 29, 2020
Question 1: Assessing Department Head....Are you essential? 8 E. Childs Hi Ed- Revenue stream is important and we create it. I am in reval and at the end of conversion and feel I have never worked harder! The DOR hasn't slowed down and I am working at home to keep on deadlines. So essential? Yes.
by K. Peirce
Wednesday, April 29, 2020