Property

ATV Trails and Land Use in Maine

People purchase property in Maine for many reasons but at some level the recreational opportunities are always a factor.  It doesn't matter what time of year, if you enjoy the outdoors there are always activities available regardless of your age. Winter in Maine offers snowshoeing, ice fishing, cross country skiing, downhill skiing and snowmobiling.  The clear blue skies and fresh white snow draping the landscape is a sight to see. Spring in Maine, a welcome season after a long winter brings some of the best brook trout fishing in the Northeast.  Ice out on our lakes brings anglers a cure from the cabin fever and trolling for salmon can be very productive. With the spring thaw comes our mud season and once things dry out the ATV trails open up (usually mid May) over 6,000 miles of club trails across Maine.  As an outdoor enthusiast, I am very thankful for the private landowners that allow multiuse trail systems to be used across their lands. Between snowmobiles and ATV's, businesses across Maine realize a big economic boom from these types of recreational activities.  An economic study completed by the University of Maine in 2005 showed a net spending of $156 million for the 2003-2004 season. If you enjoy ATV riding, we have some of the most affordable properties in Maine for sale with easy access to the trails and you can see them at LandBrothers.com Some things you should know and prepare for to make your atv trip in Maine safe and enjoyable are as follows:

  1. Make sure your ATV is registered and properly marked front and back with the registration number.
  2. Children must be at least 10 years old, have passed a state ATV safety program, wear an approved helmet if under 18 years old and riders between 10-16 years of age must be under the direct visual and audio supervision of an adult (21 or older). Approved helmets must have a "DOT", "SNELL" or "ANSI" sticker.
  3. When riding, stay on market trails and for unmarked trails you need landowner permission.
  4. Plan your trip of where you will be riding in advance. Make sure you have trail maps and more importantly call the local club trail master to check on trail conditions and technical difficulty of each trail. Trail maps do not indicate the difficulty or skill level needed to traverse any given trail number so it is critical to your safety to contact the trail master and ask what trails will get you to where you want to go safely.
  5. Use the buddy system and never ride alone. Make sure you leave a map of your route and travel plans with someone outside your party in case of an emergency.
  6. Check the weather for the area you will be riding and bring the right clothing. Always bring a first aid kit, survival kit, and tool kit. The biggest killer of people recreating outdoors is hypothermia from spring to late fall. The nights in Maine do get cold so be prepared, especially if you are taking a long ATV trip on remote trails that are miles from services.
  7. The day of your trip make sure you have filled the gas tank and perform a pre-ride inspection of your ATV. The web site www.offroad-ed.com has some great videos on safety, pre-ride inspection and safe riding techniques.
  8. On multi-use trails be sure to respect the right of other non ATV riders to use the trail system. If you meet someone on horseback, please pull off to the side and shut your machine off. Wait until they have passed a clear distance or if they waive you on.
  9. Remember, using these trails is a privilege and not a right. You are enjoying these trails by the good graces of the land owner. If you see some trash on the land and can pick it up, please do. If it is a large amount of trash, call the Maine Warden Service, Landowner Relations Program and report the area.

Be safe and enjoy the great state of Maine!

How To Get a Maine Property Tax Abatement

The mention of property taxes often stirs controversy among our citizens. The fact is most of us in some way use the services that tax money pays for from educating our children to keeping infrastructure maintained. If you do not agree with how the money is spent get more involved in the process. This post is for those who think they are being unfairly taxed for the property they own in Maine not for a philosophical discussion about the pros and cons of our current tax system.

The Maine constitution requires that taxes on property be based on just value and fairness. Just value is usually considered fair market value. Fairness is determined by how all property owners are treated as a group. To challenge a perceived excessive property tax the land owner in Maine has options for relief.

A potential option for abatement is to challenge how the tax assessor determined the property's value. Get a copy of your tax card from the town and review the methodology of the assessor. Compare the valuation of your property to a recent appraisal and/or review recent sale data of similar properties. If you see a big discrepancy in current market value compared to the assessed value you may have grounds for abatement.

Another option for abatement is to prove that your property is being assessed unfairly. Similar to researching just value, the taxpayer must do research before requesting the abatement. What you need to look for are a number of similar properties with large difference in valuation. The tax assessor is allowed some variations as it is not practical to fully analyze every property in the town every year. To have success you need to show that your valuation is more than the average of similar properties. If just one or two properties are found with slightly higher or lower valuation you probably do not have a case for abatement.

If after your review of all this data you are convinced that your property is being taxed unjustly or unfairly you should meet with the tax assessor to discuss the difference. If you can convince them of the error in just valuation or fairness, they may adjust the valuation to reflect your findings. This should be done before the taxes are committed for the tax year as assessors will most likely refuse to adjust any valuations after that date. If they do refuse your request and you are convinced you are right a more formal request will be necessary.

Under Title 36 MRSA, Sections 583, 706, 841-849 and 1118 a Maine property owner who thinks their taxes are higher than they should be can file a formal application for abatement of property taxes with the local assessors within 185 days after the tax was committed to the tax collector. You can find more details on the process online at   http://owlshead.maine.gov/Maine_Revenue_Services_Property_Tax_Bulletin.pdf

Comments

  1. William R Brown on

    Thank you, McPhail Brothers, for the timely tutorial, i will refer to the information before taxes are due, hopefully. Cheers, from william Monday, March 28th, 2016