THE NEXT BOARD OF ASSESSORS MEETING WILL BE HELD ON MARCH 3, 2014 AT 4:00PM
IN CONFERENCE ROOM 2, LOCATED IN TOWN HALL , 308 MAIN STREET, STURBRIDGE, MA 01566
FISCAL YEAR 2014 TAX RATE (per thousand)...
$21.65 COMMERCIAL, INDUSTRIAL & PERSONAL PROPERTY
ROBERT LUCIER, CHAIRMAN
DANIEL MATTE, VICE CHAIRMAN
PAUL MURPHY, CLERK
1st and 3rd Monday of every month at 4:00 p.m.
The major source of revenue for the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts is the property tax. In Sturbridge, approximately 60.5% of the revenue needed to run the government and schools is derived from the property tax. The property tax is an "ad-valorum" (based on value) tax. The tax is apportioned to individual properties based on the value of the property. In Massachusetts, estimates of value are called assessments. The assessment of a large number of parcels for property tax purposes constitutes a highly specialized field of appraisal. It is termed mass appraisal, and requires significant statistical analysis in order to develop accurate values. In Massachusetts, the property tax, both real and personal property, is assessed to the person who is the owner of record on January first. Any ownership subsequent to that date
can not be reflected on the tax bill. In Sturbridge, the physical condition of real property on July 1st is the determining factor when establishing value for the fiscal year. It is, therefore, important that any new construction be inspected as close to that date as possible in order to determine the level of completion as of the assessment date. In 2003 the State of Massachusetts by Chapter 46, Sections 41 & 42 allowed the collection of a supplemental tax based upon the date of the issuance of an occupancy permit after the July 1st date. This tax would be in addition to the actual tax bill that was determined based upon the condition of the property on July 1. It is computed on a daily basis and covers the period from the date of the signing of the occupancy permit up to the end of the fiscal year (June 30).
THE CPA SURCHARGE & HOW IT WORKS...
CPA stands for the COMMUNITY PRESERVATION ACT:
The town of Sturbridge adopted the community preservation act which permits cities and towns accepting its provisions to establish a restricted fund from which monies can only be appropriated for:
1) The acquisition, creation and preservation of open space; and
2) The acquisition,preservation, rehabilitation, and restoration of historic resources; and
3) The acquisition, creation and preservation of land for recreational use; and
4) The creation, preservation and support of community housing; and
5) The rehabilitation and restoration of open space, land for recreational use and community housing that is acquired or created using monies from the fund.
The program is funded by a local surcharge of up to three percent on real property tax bills and matching dollars from the state generated from registry of deeds fees. The town of Sturbridge has elected to charge the maximum three percent surcharge on residential properties after the first one hundred thousand dollars of value and on the total valuation of commercial, industrial and personal property.
PARCEL IDENTIFICATION NUMBERS & HOW THEY WORK...
The first three numbers 415 refer to the street. All the streets in the town of Sturbridge have been numbered, in this example 415 is the number that was assigned to Main Street.
The second three numbers 029 refer to the number of the tax map, in this example the parcel is located on map number 29.
Sturbridge has a grid location system located along the outer edges of each map. The seventh number 1 in this example is the vertical position of the parcel where the eighth number 4 is the horizontal position of the parcel.
The last three numbers 308 refer to the parcel number which is also the address or the number the parcel is assigned. In the above example, the parcel is 308 Main Street on Map 29, Parcel 308.
It is the responsibility of the assessors office to perform inspections for building permits, sales that transfered in the prior year, abatment applications and cyclical inspections. Cyclical inspections are performed on a home or business every nine years unless the owner has applied for a building permit, has sold the property or has filed for an abatement. The town of Sturbirdge has hired an independent appraiser to perform cyclical inspections for this office. He will be randomly making his way through the various neighborhoods here in Sturbridge and if any taxpayer has questions or complaints regarding these inspections, they should contact our office at 508-347-2503. The principal assessor (Bill Mitchell) will be performing all sale review inspections, building permit follow up inspections and abatement application inspections. It
is in the best interest of the taxpayer to allow entry for these inspections so the assessors office has the correct information on file to assess your home correctly each year. If the information in our office is incorrect, it can result in an assessment that is incorrect. It is the goal of our office to be fair in evaluating your home or business. These inspections will often take place from March to September each year. Abatement inspections usually take place in November and December due to deadlines set forth in Massachusetts General Laws that are monitored by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue. We appreciate your cooperation and kindness in our efforts to provide fair and equitable assessments and any questions or concerns can be directed to our office. It is a pleasure to serve you.
ASSESSORS & THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES...
The Board of Assessors is a 3-member board, elected by the town residents for a term of 3 years.
Massachusetts’s law to list and value all real and personal property as of January 1 is the Office of Assessors responsibility. All assessed values in Massachusetts are based on “full and fair cash value”. The assessors are responsible for meeting the certification requirement of the Department of Revenue. To meet these requirements, the Assessors are obligated to revalue all properties yearly, and once every three years undergo a state recertification audit.
The Office of Assessors also administers the following programs:
Real Estate and Personal Property Tax Abatements
Personal Property Forms of List
Supplemental Tax Billing
Real Estate Tax Exemption
Motor Vehicle Excise Tax Billing and Abatements
Public Access Terminal
Registry of Deed Information
Property Map Data Updates
THE ROLE OF ASSESSORS IN MUNCIPAL FINANCE...
In Massachusetts, assessors are either appointed or elected to three-year terms. The assessors’ primary responsibility is to value all real estate and personal property that are subject to taxation. Assessed valuations are based on “full and fair cash value” as of the January 1st preceding each fiscal year.
In order to maintain assessments at or near market value, the assessors regularly compare property valuations with the selling prices of properties that have sold. Assessment-to-sale ratio statistics are analyzed to determine the medial assessment level, as well as, assessment uniformity.
No valuation methodology can accurately predict what a property will sell for. A secondary, and perhaps more important role of the Board of Assessors is to generate equitable assessments. To that end, we continually strive to maintain an accurate property database and refine valuation tables and formulas that yield both equitable and explainable assessments.
An exemption releases an individual from the requirement to pay all or a part of their property tax obligation. Exemptions are available to those that meet the various requirements in the following categories:
§ Minor children of police/firefighters killed in the line of duty.
§ Disabled Veteran
§ Widows or Widowers
§ Orphaned Minor Children.
The 2014 qualifications and filing deadlines for exemptions or deferral of property tax can be found by calling the Assessors’ Office.
LAST UPDATED 02/06/2014