Letter: Market forces drove up values

To the editor,

I am writing in response to the article entitled “Budget has larger impact on Chatfield Farms residents” in your June 2 edition, and am writing on my own behalf, not as a member of the Board of Finance.

I have heard many of the complaints from residents of Chatfield Farms, some new, others old. The new ones are the result of the recent revaluation of property in the town. The only scenario that could lead to an increase of taxes in the thousands is where the difference between the last valuation in 2011 and this year is drastic. It’s very simple: all anyone has to do, as I did, is go to Zillow and randomly pick any property in Chatfield Farms and look at their graph for estimation over time and compare it to other properties in town. They are a gated community with premium housing and exclusive services. Of course their values are not trending with the rest of the town: their developer is asking for and getting increasing prices for the properties, which is in turn affecting appraisals.

What is disturbing is the ridiculous and insulting conspiracy theory where the town officials got together to reval Chatfield Farms higher than the rest of the town. Town officials couldn’t agree on appetizers in a restaurant, much less conspire illegally with the third-party vendor we contracted the work to, and Zillow apparently, so as to upset the most vocal politically active section of town. This is not typically what politicians like to do.

The nurse and minibus are standard complaints that even I made when I first joined the Board. Then I saw the good they do for what amounts to $20 a year for me. No, Woodbridge does not have a town nurse. It is because we are not Woodbridge that I have no problem with these items. All towns in the state build the expectation a percentage of citizens will not pay their taxes into every budget, so back taxes are a fact for all towns, and few have been as aggressive as ours over the last several years, with great success.

Our responsibility is to the entire town. If the residents at Chatfield Farms feel they are being singled out, they can choose to believe facts or scapegoat town employees and volunteers. The simple fact is that market forces affecting their community are driving up their values, negatively impacting their taxes while positively impacting their market values. I’m not suggesting they’re wrong to be upset, but to threaten the town’s services is misdirecting their frustration at the wrong group of people. Two hundred votes would have driven down the Region 16 budget, which is 68 cents of every Beacon Falls tax dollar. I’d suggest some of their frustration should have been directed there.

Jim Huk

Beacon Falls