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Norwalk Reval: Residential down, commercial slightly up

Norwalk Finance Director Thomas Hamilton outlines the preliminary results of the latest revaluation Monday in the Center for Global Studies at Brien McMahon High School.

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk’s residential real estate is worth less than it was five years ago, but the value of commercial property is up ever so slightly, Norwalk Finance Director Thomas Hamilton said Monday.

The preliminary results of the revaluation done by Vision Government Solutions Inc. were unveiled by Hamilton at Monday’s meeting held in the Center for Global Studies at Brien McMahon High School, which also featured Tax Assessor Michael Stewart explaining that Vision is using a different approach than has been done here before.

Some highlights:

Preliminary results of Revaluation

• 81 percent of all residential properties have a reduction in value compared to 2008

• 18 percent of all residential properties have a increase in value compared to 2008; 1 percent stayed the same

• Condominiums and 2 to 4-family residential properties have declined in value substantially more than single-family homes

• 63 percent of residential properties are decreasing by 9 percent or more

• 53 percent of single-family residential properties are decreasing by 9 percent or more

• Real property reflects a $1.5 billion decline in total appraised (market) value, or -9.05 percent, as a result of the 2013 revaluation.

• Total residential values are declining by 12.3 percent.

Single-family values are declining overall by 9.5 percent.

• Commercial property values are increasing by 1 percent.

• Assuming no change in motor vehicle or personal property assessments, overall grand list would decline by 8.1 percent.

• Overall impact: Modest shift of tax burden away from residential properties.

Results by district and neighborhood vary considerably:

• Second District (South Norwalk) had the largest drop in taxable value at -16 percent

• Sixth District (Rowayton) had the smallest drop in value at -4.9 percent

Impact on median single-family taxes by district

(District: median taxes 2013-14, 2014-15, dollar change, percent change):

• 1st District: $5,774.33…$5.341.90…($432.43)…- 7.5 percent

• 2nd District: $5,826.26…$4,867.53…($958.83)…-16.5 percent

• 3rd District: $7,156.11…$6,309.29…($846.82)…-11.8 percent

• 4th District: $6,409.73…$6,248.42…($161.31)…-2.5 percent

• 5th District: $8,162.25…$8374.69…..$212.44……2.6 percent

• 6th District: $14,053.83…$14,875.66…$821.83…5.9 percent

• Citywide: $6,904.59…$6,873.33…($31.26)…-.5 percent

The information will be posted on Visions’ website, officials said.

Hamilton referred to a 9 percent change as the “break even point.”

His department has taken the new valuations and applied them to this year’s tax bills to make a hypothetical comparison and see how people are affected, he said. Taxpayers with a 9 percent or more decrease in their valuations would be paying less this year, he said. Those with less than a 9 percent decrease would be paying more, he said.

“A revaluation doesn’t increase the city’s revenue, but what it does do is redistribute the burden of taxes,” Hamilton said. “It redistributes the burden of taxes with the objective of making the values equitable so that everyone is paying the same percentage in taxes as a percentage of the market value of their property.”

That Norwalk’s property values have dropped is no surprise, he said. Stamford did a revaluation last year and found that property values are down 25 percent, he said. Westport did one two years ago, with a 13 percent drop, he said. Fairfield did a revaluation three years ago with the result that values were down 11 percent, he said.

Field cards, which carry a detailed list of factors that affect a property’s value — such as location, size, quality of construction, age of improvements — are not ready for residents to inspect, Stewart said. That’s a change from prior revaluations.

That’s because the cards have not yet been finalized, he said.

“This is a whole new process that we are doing and the software is new even to Vision,” he said. “So we are still trying to get the best product that we can out to you before we release it. But we are giving you the things that you need to decide whether you need to take a closer look at your value.”

Hearings are underway. The city had not been planning to hold any during the week between the upcoming holidays, but is now offering appointments on Dec. 30. There will be hearings Jan. 8, 9 and 10, if needed, Stewart said.

The city has increased its time slots for this week’s hearings as well, he said.

A timeline

• December: Preliminary notices of new values

• December-January: Informal value review hearings

• January: Signing of grand list (may extend to February)

• March: Board of Assessment appeals (April is grand list extended)

• April/May: Mill rate calculated (grand levy/grand list)

• July: Tax bills

A meeting is being held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Norwalk Police headquarters community room for people who own property in Brookside, Golden Hill, Springwood, South Norwalk, Shorefront Park, Harborview and Village Creek.

There is a meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the City Hall community room for people who own property in Cranbury, West Rocks, Wolfpit, East Norwalk, Dry Hill, Central Norwalk East. It’s also for people who own commercial property anywhere in the city.

There is a meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in Concert Hall for people who own property in Silvermine, central Norwalk West, West Route 1, West Norwalk, Springhill and Ponus/Broad River.

Comments

11 responses to “Norwalk Reval: Residential down, commercial slightly up”

  1. Piberman

    With City median taxes approaching $7000 let’s encourage our elected officials to keep raising spending and boosting City salaries so Norwalk becomes the highest paying community in the state. Let’s not quibble that higher taxes depress property values or force seniors on fixed incomes to move to more affordable. Areas. In Norwalk we put our employees first. It’s the New Norwalk. Approved by both Democrats and Republicans. Lucky us.

  2. Ergo

    So residential property taxes will go down as a result, while commercial go will go up?

    I’ll believe it when I see it.

  3. M Allen

    @Ergo – Nobody’s taxes will go down. The property value may have declined, but when they redo the mill rate I highly doubt you’ll se a decline in your tax bill.

  4. Mr Norwalk Ct

    Taxpayers
    Don’t be fooled when the mill rate adjustment comes around. This is how good old Harry will attempt to hide his tax increase.

  5. Bill

    I voted for Rilling this last election, but if he turns out to be a sell-out to the unions and doesn’t care about taxpayers’ interests, he will be a 1 term mayor. We can’t take much more in taxes, all for unimpressive municipal employees.

  6. Mike Mushak

    The Tax Assessor’s office is doing a great job presenting the reval to the public, as we witnessed tonight in the South Norwalk meeting at the Police Headquarters . This is a 180 turn from the last one in 08, where questions were not answered and the consultant was uncooperative with the public, arrogant in fact. The next meetings the rest of this week for other areas of town are highly recommended for any property owner to understand the state-sanctioned process we are going through to determine how much tax we pay.
    .
    I am sure Mayor Rilling and the GOP-controlled Council will do everything they can to keep tax increases to a minimum. There seems to be a renewed spirit of cooperation and shared interest in good government that is much appreciated by many City Hall observers including myself.

  7. You may want to check your facts

    Piberman, is there anything that ISNT city employeesfault in your opinion?

  8. anonymous

    mushakm “I am sure Mayor Rilling and the GOP-controlled Council will do everything they can to keep tax increases to a minimum. There seems to be a renewed spirit of cooperation and shared interest in good government that is much appreciated by many City Hall observers including myself.”

    Mr. Mushak is cavalier about the potential for tax increases, can we assume it’s not one of his many causes? No long diatribes of unfairness and awful government for something as unimportant as tax increases. Kumbuya and let’s keep smiling.

  9. Mike Mushak

    Anonymous, why so nasty? Having a bad day? I have a serious concern over taxes and am following the reval carefully. There is definitely a different feeling in City Hall since the election. Why not celebrate it?

  10. Don’t Panic

    Agreed. Let’s focus on the specifics of solving the problems instead of gloom and doom predictions.

  11. anonymous

    @Mushak, my comment was sarcastic, your reply nasty.

    More sarcasm, you have concern about taxes and are ‘following the reval carefully’, I’ll sleep better now.

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