The Role of Assessors in Municipal 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.