ELLSWORTH — The city’s valuation edged up 1 percent — a little more than $11 million — this year over last, according to numbers released this week by Maine Revenue Services.
Overall, the appraised value of all property in Hancock County was up 1.28 percent and has nearly regained its 2008 peak of $13.81 billion.
It is important to note that because of the time it takes to complete the process there is a two-year lag in the numbers, meaning that the 2019 data reflects the market value as of April 2017.
The majority of Hancock County towns experienced a similarly modest change this year over last. The county’s $13.09 billion valuation was the third highest in the state after Cumberland ($46.89 billion) and York ($33.49 billion).
This year, Surry and Otis saw the largest increases (7 and 6 percent, respectively) and Castine and Eastbrook experienced the biggest declines (8 and 4 percent).
Compiled each year by state officials, the valuation is essentially an accounting of the market value of all taxable property in a municipality. It includes land, buildings, production machinery and equipment and business equipment. The appraisal is then used to calculate county tax rates and determine what the state will chip in for schools and other services.
While there were no dramatic shifts between this year and last, a different picture emerges when looking at the past decade. Data between 2006 and 2019 (again, because of the time lag, this is really 2004 to 2017) show the county’s valuation up 29 percent, with nearly every municipality experiencing double-digit gains.
Sullivan’s valuation was up 89 percent in the same period. Castine and Bucksport were the only two towns to experience decreases.
Three municipalities — Bar Harbor, Mount Desert and Ellsworth — had valuations over $1 billion in the 2019 data, with more than $2 billion of property in Mount Desert. The three accounted for close to 40 percent of the county’s overall valuation.