Concord begins citywide property measure — first in more than 30 years

Concord City Hall

Concord City Hall

By CATHERINE McLAUGHLIN

Monitor staff

Published: 07-01-2024 4:38 PM

If you own property in Concord, someone in a neon vest will come to your house at some point over the next year and a half.

With a Monday start, Concord is beginning both a citywide revaluation and a full measure and list of all of its properties ahead of the 2026 tax year. 

The city is legally required to reappraise properties at least every five years. But those updates, called statistical revaluations, have in large part been based on existing information about a property that’s kept in the assessor’s office, such as its size, number of bedrooms, and heating system.

The data gets updated periodically — like when a home is sold, gets a permit for a renovation, or requests an abatement — but now, for the first time since 1990, assessors will be going to every property in the city to do internal and external physical inspections, hence the neon-vested visitors. 

That process called a full measure and list, means that property values will be determined using an in-person inspection rather than an estimate based on the sales of surrounding and similar properties. It also means changes to a property that may have affected its value that the city wasn’t aware of — for example, if a homeowner finished their basement without a permit — will be included in the assessment. The information collected about properties now will be used to estimate new values for years to come.

The Monitor reached out a week ago to City Hall to learn more about how these inspections will unfold, what might play into a new assessment, what the city’s goals are for doing a full measure at this time, and what taxpayers should expect from the process. Despite repeated voicemails, emails, and other communication, the city did not make a staff member in the assessment office or the city manager’s office available for an interview. However, according to the city website for this process, assessing office personnel “will be well informed and a solid resource for taxpayer questions.”

Concord’s revaluation website describes the process as a way to ensure the city has accurate property records and “fair and equitable” assessments and distribution of the tax burden.

“It makes sure everyone’s property is appropriately and properly valued so some aren’t paying more in taxes — or less in taxes — than they should,” Mayor Byron Champlin said.

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Working for the rest of this year — no announcement has been made yet about where in Concord the process is starting — through the end of 2025, someone from a contracted assessor will visit each property in the city for an inspection.

The city has hired Vision Government Solutions, a Massachusetts-based firm that works with municipalities across New England and also provides Concord’s assessment software.

Just under half of Concord’s nearly 15,000 properties will be inspected by the end of this year, and the rest will take place next year. The new property values based on these assessments won’t take effect until the 2026 tax year.

Catherine McLaughlin can be contacted at cmclaughlin@cmonitor.com.