Consultant: Portsmouth assessments meet guidelinesBy KIMBERLEY HAAS
Union Leader Correspondent
February 21. 2018 10:16PM
PORTSMOUTH — They may not be popular, but a Manchester consultant says models for the recent commercial and residential appraisals in Portsmouth are acceptable by current standards.
A third-party review of the 2017 commercial and residential mass appraisals in Portsmouth found that reports are reasonable and credible based upon the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice, according to David Cornell.
As president of Cornell Consultants, Cornell reported to the Portsmouth City Council during its meeting Tuesday night.
According to Cornell’s review, in downtown Portsmouth commercial land is worth $1.15 million an acre. On Woodbury Avenue, land is worth $1 million an acre.
Cornell told councilors the two companies that performed 2017 commercial and residential appraisals met New Hampshire guidelines.
Residents and commercial property owners have expressed concern that their taxes will go up as a result of the increase in property values.
Roy Helsel, who lives at Riverbrook Condo Association in Portsmouth, said developers should have to pay impact fees because they are the ones profiting from growth while residents have to pay higher taxes to cover public parking, water usage and emergency services.
During a public forum, Helsel described how the 74 people who live at Riverbrook have to pay for waste removal twice because trash pickup is not provided.
City Councilor Rick Becksted asked a number of questions about the new assessed values of commercial and residential properties. He said homes that have had no upgrades are being valued the same as ones which have been remodeled.
“To take the two houses and put them on the same equal playing field, I have a problem with that,” Becksted said.
Cornell said properties that have not been remodeled can go up in value based on what is happening in the market.
Currently, commercial and residential property values on the Seacoast are rising, and have been since 2015, according to Rockingham County data.
Cornell said that just because the models used are reasonable and credible, that doesn’t guarantee every property meets the assessed value. He said that is what the abatement process is for.
Portsmouth officials do not have the total abatement numbers from the 2017 assessment yet. After the 2015 assessment, 90 abatements were filed.