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After 12 years, Waltham property to be assessed

WALTHAM — During recent discussions on a 2018-2019 town budget, the Waltham selectboard decided to fund a town-wide property reappraisal, according to Town Clerk Mary Ann Castimore and Treasurer Lucille Evarts.
Evarts last week said the decision will not affect the budget because Waltham has been setting aside funds given to the town from the state for that purpose for the past dozen years — or since the last town-wide property evaluation was completed.
Evarts estimated Waltham had about $26,000 on hand for a task that should cost about $21,000.
Officials said overall the town’s property valuation remains close to market value, per state calculations. Waltham’s Common Level of Appraisal, or CLA, a state-generated measure of towns’ property assessments, is 101.16, according to Evarts.
If a town’s CLA is 100.00 it is fully accurate, per the state, and therefore Waltham’s is just about 1 percent off.
But according to Evarts and Castimore selectboard members are concerned the town’s property evaluations are out of date and believe there could be inaccuracies within the assessments; that is, some properties could be over-valued, and others under-valued.
Town officials do not expect the town-wide re-appraisal to begin immediately because firms that do the work are busy. Castimore said on Friday Evarts recently tested the waters on the board’s behalf and did not get encouraging results.
“She sent out a batch of letters, and some people didn’t respond, and some people didn’t want to do it. We don’t have a contract yet,” Castimore said. “The big thing is finding someone to do it.”
During budget talks Castimore also said selectboard members talked about seeking grants, including from the Preservation Trust of Vermont, to help pay for repairs to Waltham Town Hall.
But she said there were no big drivers that would push spending higher as the board works to make a budget proposal final for residents’ consideration on Town Meeting Day. The board’s next regular meeting is set for Monday, Feb. 5, but Castimore said members could schedule a special meeting before then to conclude their budget work. 

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