THE ROLE OF ASSESSORS IN MUNICIPAL FINANCE
In Massachusetts, assessors are either appointed or elected to three-year terms. State law requires that assessors value all real estate and personal property subject to taxation. Assessed valuations are based on "full and fair cash value" as of the January 1st preceding each fiscal year.
All of the assessors' activities are intended to insure that taxpayers pay an equitable tax. Every year assessors conduct market studies to determine what value adjustments are required to maintain property values at or near 100% of market value. The State Department of Revenue requires assessors to submit their valuations for review and certification every three years.
Assessors do not raise or lower taxes. That responsibility falls to those citizens who choose to be involved with Town Meeting and the budget preparation process. Assessors simply assess taxes in an amount sufficient to cover state and local appropriations.