SKOWHEGAN – Tax payers listen up – the Skowhegan property tax rate changed Thursday after town assessors made an error regarding the town’s largest taxpayer. Town officials said they’ve been working quickly to fix the problem.
A notice from the town’s website said the rate change was due to a “significant error” made in assessing the value of the Sappi mill in town.
According to Skowhegan Town Manager Christine Almand, the mill rate will now be 17.24 percent, up from the 15.9 percent that was sent out in tax bills earlier this month.
“You’re entering the information off of certain spreadsheets into the software and if a wrong number gets entered, that’s exactly what happened,” said Almand.
Almand found out about the Assessor’s Office error Tuesday.
Sappi, whose valuation is about $340 million, brought the mistake to the town after their tax bill was too high, meaning the mill had been over-valued.
“So when you have one taxpayer with that large of a valuation, the margin of error is much larger,” said Almand.
Those in town told us they weren’t aware there was a meeting Thursday to change the property tax rate.
“Being a resident here in town and to hear about this just now and the meeting is today is quite surprising…if taxes go up it could hurt everybody,” said Skowhegan resident Scott LeBlanc.
While the adjusted mill rate is more than was sent out a couple weeks ago, it’s still a decrease from last year (which was 18.2 percent).
“So I mean that’s still good news, the bills are still going to be lower than they were last year, but unfortunately they will be higher than what people already received in the mail,” said Almand.
Town assessors did not have a comment when we stopped by Thursday afternoon.
But Almand said they’ll be sending out letters to any local property owners.
Any payments that have already been processed will be credited to the taxpayer’s account. And anyone with questions is welcomed to contact the town office.