The Assessors Office has a full-time Assessor and one full-time Assistant Assessor, a full-time Clerk along with an appointed 3-member board who serve on a part-time basis.
Appointments are made by the Board of Selectmen and the term of the appointment is three years. All appointed members of the Board of Assessors must complete Massachusetts Department of Revenue Course 101 as well as attend a classification workshop.
The Assessor is required by Massachusetts law to list and value all real and personal property. Values are subject to ad valorem taxation on an assessment roll each year. The “ad valorem” basis for taxation means that all property should be taxed “according to value”. In Massachusetts, assessed values are based on “full and fair cash value” or 100 percent of the fair market value. The Bellingham Assessors Office must appraise and assess approximately 6,946 parcels.
To arrive at “full and fair cash value” for your property, the Assessor analyzes arm’s length sales of real estate transfers for a calendar year. The Assessor also must collect, record and analyze a great deal of information about property and market characteristics in order to estimate the fair market value. Cost and quality of construction, zoning, financing and economic conditions may also affect property values. The Assessor uses the three nationally recognized appraisal approaches to value: cost, income and market; this data is then correlated into to final value.