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August 06. 2013 8:16PM

Goffstown updates town property values

GOFFSTOWN — New proposed assessed property values are available, and town assessor Scott Bartlett is urging owners to take a look and ask questions.

The state Department of Revenue requires all towns to reassess property values every five years, and Goffstown conducts periodic updates to stay current with market values.

“We do two updates every five years to keep us as close to market value as much as possible,” Bartlett said. “If you do it every five years, you tend to get large increases in values. Doing it periodically, the changes are gradual.”

A valuation update consists of an analysis of current market information, creating new valuation benchmarks based on the current market, reviewing and testing the new values, and notifying taxpayers.

This process avoids inequalities and property owners paying more than market value. The 2013 values are proposed until the Board of Selectmen reviews and accepts the listed values.

Bartlett uses two methods in updating values — a cyclical remeasure and a market value analysis — and some properties are reinspected to verify that the information on the property record card is correct.

“With cyclical remeasurement, we remeasure about 1,000 to 1,200 properties per year. That’s the data side, the basic, reviewing the number of bedrooms, bathrooms and building size,” he said.

The town also analyzes market values, which change on a regular basis. The town looks at market trends and regularly updates property values to avoid a total revaluation, which could cost the town about $500,000, he said.

The town’s last full revaluation was in April 2008. During that process, a physical inspection of the interior and exterior of each property was conducted. Assessors analyzed the location, size, quality of construction, age of improvements, topography, utilities, zoning restrictions, etc.

The DRA sets quality ratings. Assessors conduct a market analysis to determine the current ratio of assessments to sales, and the coefficient of dispersion (COD) measures the uniformity of the assessments.

“The goal is to stay at 100 percent of market value, with a COD of 20 percent or less. For a community the size of Goffstown, we try to stay at 10 percent or less,” Bartlett said.

In 2012, the assessment to sales ratio was 101.6 percent, meaning values were 1.6 percent higher than selling prices. The current ratio for 2013 is about 100 percent.

“For the most part, there were some minor shifts but most values remained the same,” he said. “During the update, we looked at trends and areas where you didn’t have enough sales. Typically, there’s been more sales to make it in line with what the market is doing now.”

There are 6,698 properties in Goffstown, with a total taxable value of about $1.3 billion for all properties — residential homes, condos and mobile homes; commercial and industrial; vacant land; dormitories; mixed-use properties; apartment buildings; and utilities.

Taxpayers received tax bills in May, which were estimated based on 50 percent of the 2012 tax rate and the 2012 assessed value. The second and final 2013 tax bill, which is scheduled to be mailed in late October or early November, will include the updated value and the final 2013 tax for the year. This bill can be appealed under the normal abatement procedure, Bartlett said. Property owners have until March 1 to appeal.

“I’ve put the numbers out there, and I’m leaving my schedule open. I encourage people to give me a call,” he said.

To review the property value updates and obtain abatement forms, visit www.goffstown.com/assessing-office, or contact Bartlett at 497-8990, ext. 113. The information is also available at the assessor’s office, 16 Main St., Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.


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