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A revaluation is the process of conducting the data collection and market analysis necessary to equalize the values of all properties within a municipality for the purpose of a fair distribution of the tax burden.
A physical inspection of both the interior and exterior of each property is conducted, where building dimensions and characteristics are noted. This is the data collection phase of the project. Each data collector carries an identification badge as well as a letter of introduction on city or town letterhead. Each data collector's car is also registered with the Police Department and Assessors Office.
While the data collection phase is going on, appraisers are studying the real estate transactions that have occurred over the past two years in order to gain a complete understanding of property value in the municipality. When this process is complete, the appraisers can then utilize this market data to help determine the market value of every property in the Municipality.
Once values (otherwise known as assessments) have been determined, each property owner receives an individual notice of the new assessment. Property owners also have the opportunity to review the entire file of assessed values so that they can make comparisons to their own property. If the municipality chooses, this data can be published on the Internet, otherwise the data will be made available at one or more locations.
All property owners are given the opportunity to discuss their values with the appraisal staff at an appointed time which will be publicly announced towards the end of the revaluation. At this meeting, a property owner can voice concerns or discuss inaccuracies or discrepancies with a qualified Appraiser who will review the data and explain the assessment process.
Over time, property values change. However, not all types of properties change at the same rate. Since the assessed value is the basis of the property tax, a valuation update must be undertaken in order to make sure that each parcel of real estate is assessed according to current market value. This ensures that everyone pays their fair share.
A valuation update may result in an increase or decrease of individual assessments; it does not mean that all tax burdens will increase.
You may be saying “Sure!”, but remember, assessments are only the base that is used to determine the tax burden. The tax burden is the amount that the municipality must raise to operate the local government and support the many services each of us has come to expect such as schools, police, etc. If the same amount of money is to be raised after the valuation update as the previous year and each assessment doubles, the tax rate would merely be cut in half.
There are two very good methods of determining this.
Your value should be in line with these similar properties. Remember, very few properties are exactly alike. Your value should be comparable, but it seldom will be exactly the same as what seems to be a similar property.
If any property owner believes the assessment on their property is in excess of its fair market value, they should first notify the Assessor's Office. They may then appeal before the Municipality's Board of Assessment Appeals. The Board of Assessment Appeals will review the case and make a determination as to the disposition of the appeal.
Should the property owner still feel the assessment is incorrect, they may appeal to the Superior Court for the judicial district in which the municipality is located.
A valuation update is the process of performing all of the necessary market analysis and valuation steps to determine accurate and equitable market values for all properties within a municipality. The equalization of the values within a City or Town creates a fair distribution of the tax burden. The purpose of a valuation update is not to raise taxes. The purpose is to create an equitable distribution of the tax load.
Towards the end of the revaluation, every homeowner receives a notice of their proposed valuation based on the analysis performed. These values are not final until the hearings are complete. When a homeowner has a question or concern about the proposed valuation, they are asked to call the firm to schedule a date and time to discuss the valuation process and get answers to any questions the homeowner may have. An informal hearing is not a forum to discuss taxes; it is strictly meant to answer questions on the property valuations.
Homeowners are asked to come prepared with questions and should have already compared their property to other similar sale properties in their neighborhood. Once the meeting is finished, a hearing officer will determine if a review of the property is necessary. Appraisal personnel will review the hearing notes to determine whether a change should be made to the property. All changes to value that occur due to a hearing will be reflected in the change notice that is sent after the hearings are completed.
Since the last revaluation, real estate values have changed significantly. Over the same period, building construction costs have increased but have done so at a slower rate than the overall value increase. Since building costs have not increased as much as total values, the bulk of the total increase, if any, is attributable to land. This makes perfect economic sense as it is buildable land that is in limited supply.
Although a revaluation may result in an adjustment to nearly each individual assessment; it does not mean that property taxes will increase.
Please remember, assessments are only the base that is used to determine the individual tax burden of each and every taxable property. The overall operating budget, which is the amount that the municipality must raise to operate the local government and support the many services each of us has come to expect such as schools, police, etc. is what truly affects individual property taxes. For example, if the overall operating budget is the same both before and after revaluation and each assessment doubles, the tax rate would merely be cut in half.
Market value is the value that your home should be able to sell for as of a specific date. The value is determined by the activity in the real estate market and the general economy. The value of your property is based on an analysis of the entire municipal real estate market for the full two calendar years before the completion of the Valuation Update Project.
No. This process does not involve individual visits to each property in town.
The Biddeford RiverWalk sits at the crossroads of local, regional, statewide and national trails—a fact that we find somewhat unique and compelling. Not only will the Riverwalk intersect with city trails, it also will connect with:
As such, it can be the catalyst for further trail development across the city - and as an economic, cultural, historic, environmental and educational amenity for Biddeford, Saco, and beyond.
View the updated vision map, which provides for the overall vision of the project as well as status updates for all elements of the project.
Please visit Phase 1 of the RiverWalk, referred to as Gateway Plaza. Look for the RiverWalk sign at the North Dam Mill entrance, and you are almost there!
This fall, Phase 2 and the Pedestrian Bridge should be open to the public as well! Stay tuned for that announcement!
There are several ways to learn more about the RiverWalk: online at the City of Biddeford or through the Heart of Biddeford. Or you can email Alix Hopkins, the Biddeford RiverWalk Coalition’s Project Director. She can head you in the right direction.
You should call the Biddeford Police Department at 207-282-5127 and make a lost animal report.
Next, you should call the Animal Welfare Society at 207-985-3244 to see if someone has brought it in.
If you live near a town line you should also call the animal control office or police department. for that town. View a list of Animal Control Officers for assistance locating phone numbers.
Yes. If you can, get the following information:
Then call the Biddeford Police Deapartment as soon as you can. We need to know that a bite happened, so it can be recorded and we can make sure the dog is healthy.
This does not mean that we are going to take the dog; that happens very rarely.
First, try talking to the owner of the dog. Most of the time they don’t know that the dog comes over or that it bothers someone when it does.
If that doesn’t work or you feel uncomfortable with that, you can call Biddeford Animal Control at 207-282-5127, and we can speak to them about the issue.
Most likely, no. They are normally not a threat to people. Foxes and coyotes will come out during the day.
If you have food out for cats or other animals. then take it in. Keep your cats and small dogs inside or only let them out supervised. Foxes and coyotes could try to go after them.
However if the animal is showing odd behavior such as “looking drunk” or being aggressive, then you should contact the Biddeford Police Department at 207-282-5127 or the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
Did you know that stormwater pollution is one of the leading causes of water quality problems in the State of Maine?Stormwater is rain or snowmelt that does not soak into the ground. When it runs off our lawns, driveways, parking lots, and roads, it picks up pollutants that have been spilled on the ground, such as:
Stormwater carries these pollutants, untreated, into the catch basins, storm drains and roadway ditches which in turn flow into waterways, such as:
The City of Biddeford is working to prevent stormwater pollution.
In cooperation with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, the City of Biddeford:
You are a regulated facility if you are a food service establishment or a limited-food service establishment.
First and foremost, if you are regulated you must register on or before June 30, 2015 and annually thereafter. Registration forms (downloadable and online) are available through the Registration Page.
Any facility determined to be subject to the ordinance (PDF) that fails to register on time is subject to a $75 registration fee and may be found in non-compliance with other provisions of the ordinance.
The Ordinance is available for review through the City code website.
The Maine Freedom of Access Act (“FOAA”) grants the people of Maine a broad right of access to public records while protecting legitimate governmental interests and the privacy rights of individual citizens. The act also ensures the accountability of government to its citizens by requiring public access to the meetings of public bodies as well as public records. Transparency and open decision-making are fundamental principles of the Maine Freedom of Access Act, and they are essential to ensuring continued trust and confidence in our government. The City of Biddeford is required to comply with Maine's Freedom of Access Act. A full text of the Act is available through the Maine Legislature's Statues website.
The FOAA defines "public record" as "any written, printed or graphic matter or any mechanical or electronic data compilation from which information can be obtained, directly or after translation into a form susceptible of visual or aural comprehension, that is in the possession or custody of an agency or public official of this State or any of its political subdivisions, or is in the possession or custody of an association, the membership of which is composed exclusively of one or more of any of these entities, and has been received or prepared for use in connection with the transaction of public or governmental business or contains information relating to the transaction of public or governmental business".
There are a number of exceptions to "public records" A number of exceptions are specified. The Act and exceptions can be found on the State of Maine 1 M.R.S. § 402(3).
A FOAA request is a request to obtain a copy of a public record submitted to the government agency's public access officer.
There is no central records office that services Freedom of Access Act (FOAA) requests within the City of Biddeford. There are no forms required nor does the request have to be in writing, however, the City strongly urges that all FOAA requests be in writing (email, fax, letter, etc.) in order to maintain a record of when the request was received, what records were requested, an understanding of the search period, and who requested the document(s). However, in order to evaluate and process a request there must be sufficient information. To assist citizens, a Request for Public Information form (PDF) has been created for convenience.
In order for the City to promptly respond to your request, you should be as specific as possible when describing the records you are seeking. If a particular document is required, it should be identified precisely—preferably by author, date and title. However, a request does not have to be that specific. If you cannot identify a specific record, you should clearly explain the type of records you are seeking, from what time frame, and what subject the records should contain.
For example, assume you want to obtain a list of vendors that the City paid in exchange for goods and services in July of 2016. A request or “all vendor payments” is very broad and would likely produce volumes of records. The fees for such a request would be very high; the City would likely find your request too vague and ask that you make it more specific. On the other hand, a request for “all records of payments to vendors paid by the City in July 2016” is specific and lists the type of record, the purpose of the record, and the time frame. A justification for your request is not required. Although, you might also want to explain what information you hope to learn from the record as this additional explanation may help the City narrow its search and find a record that meets the exact request.
The City's public access officer under FOAA is the City Manager. However, be advised that the City will process all FOAA requests regardless of whether or not the request is submitted directly to the public access officer as long as the request is identifiable as a FOAA request.
Yes. the City must acknowledge receipt of a request within 5 working days of receipt by the City.
Yes. Under Maine's FOAA, the City may request clarification concerning which public record or public records are being requested.
Yes. the City must provide a good faith, nonbinding estimate of how long it will take to comply with the request "within a reasonable period of time" after receiving the request. The City is required to make a good faith effort to fully respond within the given estimated time.
There is no initial fee for submitting a FOAA request and the City cannot charge an individual to inspect records unless the public record cannot be inspected without being compiled or converted. However, the City can and normally does charge for copying records. Although the FOAA does not set standard copying rates, it permits agencies to charge "a reasonable fee to cover the cost of copying".
The City may charge fees for the time spent searching for, retrieving, compiling or redacting confidential information from the requested records. The FOAA authorizes agencies or officials to charge $15 per hour after the first hour of staff time per request. Where conversion of a record is necessary, the agency or official may also charge a fee to cover the actual cost of conversion.
The City must prepare an estimate of the time and cost required to complete a request within a reasonable amount of time of receipt of the request. If the time to prepare is estimated to be greater than 1 hour, the City must notify the requester before proceeding. The City may request payment in advance if the estimated time to complete is estimated to exceed two hours or if the requester has previously failed to pay a fee properly assessed under the FOAA.
A local government entity whose officer or employee commits a willful violation of Maine's FOAA commits a civil violation for which a forfeiture of not more than $500 may be adjudged. Under the current law, there are no criminal penalties for failure to comply with a request for public records.
General assistance (GA) is a program available in each municipality in Maine to help eligible people who do not have enough money to cover basic living costs. It provides confidential financial assistance to Biddeford residents who are having difficulty meeting basic needs such as rent, food, electricity, personal and household supplies, medication, heating fuel, and other essential services.
General Assistance is funded by local property taxes with 70% reimbursement from the state.
For the purposes of this program a “resident” means a person who is physically present in Biddeford with the intention of remaining in Biddeford to maintain or establish a home and who has no other residence.
You can apply at the Biddeford City Hall located at 205 Main Street, Suite 101. Office hours are Monday-Friday 8:00am to 5:00pm. Applications are taken by appointment. You can call (207) 284-9514 or come into the office to schedule an appointment.
If it is on a weekend or after hours and you have a life threatening emergency, you may contact the Biddeford Police Department at (207) 282-5127
Your first visit will require an interview with a caseworker during which you will complete a written application. First visits take approximately 45 minutes.
Your General Assistance budget will be based on the 30-day period following your application. We will also look back to 30 days before you applied, to see what money you received, and how you spent it. You will need to provide:
Yes. Your application and any case records pertaining to it are strictly confidential by law. You, the applicant, your attorney and certain government personnel may review your records. The City will need to know who to pay your GA vouchers to, such as your landlord. The City will also need for you to give permission for them to contact people who can verify your income and other necessary information. The general public cannot review your records unless you have given your written permission.
Maybe. You would want to apply and if your income is less than your necessary expenses and the program’s income maximum, you will be evaluated.
We will issue you a written decision as to your eligibility within 24 hours after you apply and we will promptly furnish any assistance for which you are determined eligible within our guidelines. However, please be aware that if you have not furnished sufficient information, including verification required, to enable us to determine eligibility, we must consider your application incomplete and find you ineligible for any assistance until you reapply with adequate information
The General Assistance Program is regulated by State Law, which has set an overall maximum amount of assistance that a household can receive. In addition, each municipality’s GA guidelines contain maximum amounts of assistance allowable for each category of assistance including, rent, food, electricity, etc. We cannot exceed those established maximums even though household’s expenses for various items may exceed those amounts. To be eligible, your income must fall below the overall maximum level of assistance for a household your size and your income must also be less than the amount you need to pay for basic necessities using City guidelines.
The law states that as a general rule security deposits will not be considered a basic necessity and thus municipalities are not generally responsible for paying them.
General Assistance does not furnish money directly to the eligible person or household. All assistance is issued in the form of City vouchers payable to vendors who have provided your household with goods or services.
At the time an applicant receives a decision on their application, the administrator will inform them of their responsibilities for being eligible in the future. The period covered by your application and any assistance given under that application cannot exceed 30 days. However, there is no limitation on how many times a person can reapply and continue to be found eligible for assistance. The General Assistance program budgets your needs for 30 days forward from the date of your application. Upon a repeat application for General Assistance, the client must provide documentation (receipts) of all their spending over the past thirty days. The amount of income from all sources received by the household must be provided. The Applicant must show that they have utilized all potential resources the administrator referred them to on their notice of eligibility.
General Assistance is a program that encourages clients to do all they can to prevent needing future assistance. An applicant may be found ineligible to receive general assistance if they: misspend their money on items that are not considered basic necessities (this will count as money available to the household and will affect the amount of eligibility); if a client forfeits a benefit, this benefit will not be replaced; if a client quits or is fired from a job, they are disqualified for a 120 day period; for willfully making a false representation about their eligibility; for not providing or permitting the administrator to gather necessary verification and documentation as required; as well as others.
On July 4th your trash and recycling will be collected.
The City of Biddeford implemented a new curbside recycling and trash collection program on July 1, 2013. For those properties that are in the program recycling is mandatory and “free” trash disposal is limited. Collection is curbside so residents living in properties that are in the program no longer have to bring their recyclables to the Recycling Center, they get picked-up at curbside or roadside. Trash and recycling get picked-up on the same day every week. Check out what day is your collection day (PDF).
Included in the Zero Sort Program are:
Commercial apartment properties with 6 or more units are grandfathered if the following 2 conditions are met :
These properties will retain their grandfathered status until such time that the ownership changes. Upon a change in ownership, the grandfathered status will be lost and the City will no longer service that property. View the list of grandfathered properties. If your property is not on this list then it is not grandfathered.
All single-family residential properties and all residential properties with apartment buildings having 5 or less units received one 65 gallon blue recycling container and one 35 gallon green trash container for each residential unit on the property. Those containers can be put out for collection weekly on the scheduled day for your street. If you have more recycling materials than can fit into your blue recycling container you may bring those materials to the Recycling Center or hold them until the following week. If you have more trash than can fit into your green trash container you must use the City’s orange Pay As You Throw (PAYT) bags for this overflow trash. These bags will be sold in a number of local stores. Check out where you can purchase these bags! The PAYT bags can be placed curbside next to your green trash container for collection. The PAYT bags can also be placed in a separate container as long as that container is no larger than 45 gallons and does not weigh more than 35 pounds. Remember, you do not need orange PAYT bags for trash that you put in your green trash container. PAYT bags are only used for trash that does not fit into your green trash container.
All grandfathered commercial apartment properties with 6 or more units received one 65-gallon blue recycling container for each residential unit on the property, space permitting. If you have more recycling materials than can fit into your blue recycling container you may bring those materials to the Recycling Center or hold them until the following week. These properties will not receive any trash containers. Trash from these properties will need to be placed in the City’s orange PAYT bags and placed curbside for collection. The PAYT bags can be placed in a trash container as long as that container is no larger than 45 gallons and does not weigh more than 35 pounds. These bags will be sold in a number of local stores. Check out where you can purchase these bags!
You can put your containers out by the curb after 4 p.m. the night before collection and they must be brought back in from the curb by 8 p.m. the day of collection.
The blue recycling container will be used for the following items:
The green trash container will be used for your household trash. Your household trash can be placed in the regular trash bags that you are currently using prior to placement in the green container. You do not need to use the city’s orange PAYT bags for trash that is placed in the green trash container. The orange PAYT bags are only for trash that does not fit in the green trash container.
Do not place any of the following items in either container:
Property owners that have lost the grandfathered status for trash collection need to contract with a private hauler to collect and dispose of their trash and recyclables. The City continued to pick up the trash at these locations until June 28, 2013. As always, the tenants of those properties can bring their acceptable recycling materials to the Recycling Center in the same manner as has always been the case.
View a list of properties that have lost their grandfather status.
Yes, you can place the orange PAYT bags into your old trash can and place it out by the road for collection.
No, do not use a plastic bag to place items into the blue recycling container. The items you place in the blue recycling container should be placed in the container loosely and not in a bag. The only exception to this is if you have shredded paper. Shredded paper should be placed in a brown paper bag then placed into the blue recycling container.
Yes, trash can be placed in a regular plastic trash bag then placed into the green trash container.
If you have an additional question or comment you can fill out this form and someone will get back to you.
The Brownfields Grant Award is $240,000.
Federal procurement rules require two or more bidders to compete - see 40 CFR Part 31.36.
Most experts recommend you replace your smoke detector if it is ten years or older. One study conducted a few years ago found most smoke detectors do not work as reliably after ten years or so.
Without looking at your house it is virtually impossible to say exactly how many smoke detectors you need. We recommend smoke detectors should be in the hallway outside of bedrooms, inside the bedrooms and on every level of the floor. While this may seem like a lot of detectors keep in mind that the detector in the hallway outside the bedroom will most likely double as a detector on every level of the floor as well. If you have any questions call your local fire department.
Smoke detectors should either be installed on the ceiling or a few inches down from the ceiling on a wall. The reason smoke detectors should be installed a few inches lower than the ceiling is that smoke tends to curl when it reaches the 90 degree angle formed by the ceiling joining the wall and this forms a “dead space” where smoke may not penetrate.
Sometimes smoke detectors alarm for no apparent reason. In the summertime humid, wet weather will sometimes cause a detector to alarm (steam from a hot shower will also cause the alarm to sound). Another reason for an alarm might be due to someone cooking as food particles baked on to the oven can cause an alarm to sound. It is also possible that your detector is faulty. We recommend replacing your detector every ten years.
A number of manufacturers make smoke detectors now with lithium-powered batteries. These smoke detectors’ batteries supposedly last for ten years without being changed.
You should test your detector once every month by simply depressing the test button.
Most smoke detectors have a safety feature that causes the detector to chirp when the battery is low, but experts still say you should change the battery in your smoke detector at least once to twice a year (a good time to do this is when you change the clocks with the move to Daylight Savings Time) to be sure the batteries are good. The low-battery warning is a nice feature, but if the detector starts to chirp at 2 a.m. most home owners are not going to take the battery out and replace it at that time.
There are two basic smoke detectors for sale in the U.S. – ionization smoke detectors and photo-electric smoke detectors. Ionization detectors use a minute amount of radioactive material to detect smoke particles while photo-electric detectors use a beam of light to detect the smoke particles. Ionization detectors are the most common and are relatively inexpensive, but tend to have more false alarms. Photo-electric detectors tend to have fewer false alarms, but are more expensive and sometimes are difficult to find in stores. Both detectors work differently and each detects a different type of fire more quickly than the other one (smoldering fire vs. a flash fire), but studies have shown that both are equally effective and normally sound an alarm within seconds of each other regardless of the type of fire.
Disconnected or unplugged smoke detectors is the leading cause of inoperative smoke detectors in the United States. Instead of disconnecting the battery or electrical connection when the alarm sounds from a false alarm you may want to:
Carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are not currently required. However, we believe that carbon monoxide detectors are a good idea. Since carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless, tasteless and is known for mimicking the signs and symptoms of a person with a cold or flu, many people are exposed to CO without knowing it. Experts say at least one CO detector in a home is a good idea, especially if you live in a well-insulated home or there are young or old persons living in the home.
Carbon monoxide detectors should be placed in the hallway outside of the bedrooms. Since carbon monoxide filters throughout the air and does not rise like the smoke from a fire you can place your detector virtually anywhere on the ceiling or the wall (as long as it is a few inches down from the ceiling.)
City hall is open from 8:00 am - 5:00 pm Mon-Fri