The Montague Board of Assessors Office serves the taxpayers by valuing and classifying all real and personal property in an accurate, ethical, equitable and defensible manner as dictated by Massachusetts General Laws. It is of the utmost importance that the taxpayer has faith in the integrity of the Assessors' Office and that this image of fairness and fiscal transparency is promoted in the public sphere. Taxpayers should leave the office feeling their questions have been answered fully; of course, they may not always leave happy, but they must leave satisfied that their concerns have been heard and evaluated justly.
The objective of the Board of Assessors is to accurately determine the value of all real and personal property located within the Town of Montague. Assessors are required, by state statute, to assess all property at its full and fair cash value as of the January 1st prior to the beginning of the fiscal year (July 1st). Determining the “fair cash value” or “market value” of a property involves discovering what similar properties sold for, what the property would cost today to replace and what financial factors may be affecting the real estate market. Valuation techniques for commercial and industrial properties include analysis from an investment point of view, since the purchase price the buyer is willing to pay depends, in part, on the anticipated return on the investment.
The assessing department is responsible for the administration of all property data records, also known as property record cards. These property record cards include parcel ownership which is based on deeds and other documents that are recorded at the Franklin County Registry of Deeds. Much of the value on the property record card is attributable to the improvements made to the property such as buildings. The primary source for information regarding these improvements is the site visit during which a member of the assessing staff measures and inspects the permanent structures. Another important aspect of the property record card database is accurate parcel identification; this is established through the maintenance of all pertinent map data. Map data is comprised of ANR (approval not required) plans and plans
that have been approved by the planning and zoning boards and the conservation commission (each as is appropriate).
While fair and equitable valuation of all real and personal property is the main objective of the Board of Assessors; the responsibilities of the board and their staff also include: annual completion of the tax rate recapitulation to the satisfaction of the Department of Revenue, motor vehicle excise and excise abatements, property tax abatements and legal cases brought before the appellate tax board. The board also determines exemption eligibility and processes statutory exemptions and other forms of tax relief such as land classified as chapter land for agricultural/horticultural, recreational and forest land use.