The assessors are required by Massachusetts law to value all real and personal property within the town.
They value every property from single-family residences to the largest commercial and industrial enterprises. Periodically, outside professional appraisers are used to assist with specialized assessments. Special assessing computer software is used to maintain values and assist with the multitude of calculations required in their work.
Every three years, the assessors must re-value all real and personal property and submit these values to the state Department of Revenue for certification. Assessors must also maintain the values in the years between certification. This is done so that each property taxpayer in the town pays his or her fair share of the cost of local government.
Assessors also have a responsibility for motor vehicle excise tax bills, originated by the State Registry of Motor Vehicles, and boat excise tax bills, generated at the local level. For motor vehicles, they update the bills to reflect recent changes and then pass them onto the Town Collector for distribution. For boat excise bills, they contact boat yards, marinas and the town's Harbormaster for listings of owners. Like the motor vehicle excise tax, lists are first generated, then bills are printed and passed to the Town Collector for distribution. Assessors grant abatements and answer any questions regarding excise tax bills.
Assessors have a major role in promoting effective financial management in the town. By keeping values at the market standard, the assessors assist in maximizing the resources available to fund the municipal services expected by residents.