The Assessors are required by Massachusetts law to value all real and personal property within the town. They value residential, commercial, industrial and personal property. Periodically, outside professional appraisers are used to assist with specialized assessments. Special assessing computer software is used to maintain values and assist with the multitude of calculations required in their work.
Every three years, the Assessors must re-value all real and personal property and submit these values to the state Department of Revenue for certification. Assessors must also maintain the values in the years between certification. This is done so that each property taxpayer in the town pays his or her fair share of the cost of local government.
The Assessors submit the Tax Rate Recapitulation Sheet annually to the Department of Revenue. The Assessors are required to annually assess taxes in an amount sufficient to cover the State and Local appropriations chargeable to the Town. The tax rate, set by the Assessors, is the basis for the budget needed to provide for services, such as schools, roads, fire, law enforcement, etc. The tax rate is simply the rate, which will provide funds to pay for those services.
Assessors also have a responsibility for motor vehicle excise tax bills, originated by the State Registry of Motor Vehicles, and boat excise tax bills, generated at the local level. For motor vehicles, they update the bills to reflect recent changes and then pass them onto the Town Collector for distribution. Assessors grant abatements and answer any questions regarding excise tax bills.
Additionally, the Assessors have the authority to grant real estate abatements for overvaluation and personal exemptions to qualifying taxpayers.
The Assessors' Office provides a variety of information to the public. Assessors' maps, assessment lists, deeds, and property record cards are available for review. Certified abutters lists are prepared by the Assessors' Office. A public access computer is available in the Assessing Department during regular office hours.