**Town of South Berwick – Assessors Meeting: A Detailed Analysis of Property Appraisal and Abatement Request**

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In a recent Town Council meeting held on January 10, 2023, the Board of Assessors discussed an abatement request made by Mark Zimmer, the owner of a property located at 72 Violet Street in South Berwick, Maine. The purpose of the meeting was to evaluate the request and determine the accurate assessed value of the property for the fiscal year 2023. In this article, we will delve into the details discussed during the meeting, including the appraisal process, corrections made to the property assessment, and the final recommended assessment figure.

The Abatement Request

Mark Zimmer submitted an abatement request for his property at 72 Violet Street, challenging the assessed value of $1,191,500 determined for the fiscal year 2023. He believed that the value should be $900,000. As part of his request, Zimmer provided a partial appraisal that was conducted in September 2020 for mortgage purposes. However, the assessor, Vernon, pointed out that this appraisal could not be considered as the intended user was the lender, not the assessor. Nevertheless, Vernon reviewed the appraisal and conducted an interior inspection of the property to ensure accurate data for analysis.

Corrections Made to the Assessment

During the inspection, several corrections were identified related to the property’s style, cataloging of specific areas, and classification as a period Colonial. It was discovered that a renovation had taken place in 2006, which resulted in changes to the property’s layout and overall value. Additionally, the back of the house, which faced the water and served as the main entrance, required repairs. These corrections were crucial in accurately determining the property’s assessed value.

Evaluation of the Appraisal

Vernon highlighted the limitations of the mortgage appraisal conducted by the appraiser. Mortgage appraisals are primarily used to assess risk for lending purposes and involve making adjustments to comparables to equalize them with the subject property. However, Vernon pointed out that the appraiser had only used comparables that were inferior to the subject property, leading to an inaccurate representation of its true value. This limitation rendered the mortgage appraisal less influential in determining the assessed value.

Analysis of Comparables

Mark Zimmer provided various comparables within the town to support his abatement request. However, upon evaluation, it was discovered that some of the properties described as newer and in excellent condition were not truly comparable. Vernon specifically mentioned that two properties were not single-family homes, making them unsuitable for direct comparison. Furthermore, the assessments of the other properties in Zimmer’s application were not consistent with their actual condition. These findings led to a reassessment of the comparables and their relevance to Zimmer’s abatement request.

The Revised Assessment and Recommended Abatement

After thorough analysis and considering all the factors discussed, Vernon recommended a revised assessment figure for the property at 72 Violet Street. The revised assessment amounted to a 12.9% increase over the prior year’s assessment. Vernon emphasized that this increase was in line with the town’s average assessment increase of 11.7% for the same period. The recommended assessment figure aligned with the corrections made during the inspection, providing a more accurate representation of the property’s value.

Council Deliberation and Conclusion

During the meeting, the council members had the opportunity to ask questions and engage in a discussion regarding the abatement request and the recommended assessment figure. Mark Zimmer, the property owner, also had the chance to address the council and express his thoughts on the matter. The council ultimately acknowledged the hard work put into the assessment process and the analysis conducted by the assessor, Vernon. After careful consideration, the council granted the abatement in the amount indicated by Vernon, which was $28,000.


The Board of Assessors’ meeting in South Berwick, Maine, served as a platform to evaluate an abatement request and determine the accurate assessed value of a property. Through a detailed analysis of the property’s appraisal, corrections made during the inspection, and examination of comparables, the assessor, Vernon, recommended a revised assessment figure. The council agreed with the recommendation, leading to the granting of the abatement. This thorough and transparent process ensured fairness in determining the assessed value and demonstrated the town’s commitment to maintaining an accurate property assessment system.

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