Letter: Mill rate inequity needs to be addressed

To the editor,

I am writing this letter because I am deeply concerned about the mill rate in Naugatuck. It is excessive, and I do not believe it is reasonable or warranted. Yes, home assessments here are lower than some other towns, but not enough to justify the steep mill rate we are paying. The mill rate here, which is going from 47.67 in 2016-17 to 48.55 in 2017-18, is a deterrent for home buyers coming into the area, as well as a source of anger and frustration for homeowners.

We are a small borough, where are our parks and amenities that could justify this extremely high mill rate? The mill rate needs to be dropped and other solutions found for funding, this is just unacceptable.

To give residents an idea of other 2016-17 mill rates in the state I have researched and included the following: Bethany is 35.5, Cheshire is 31.19, Prospect is 29.91, Middlebury is 31.01, Shelton is 22.31, Ansonia is 37.32, Greenwich is 11.02 and New Haven is 41.55.

Our little borough has a higher mill rate than a city on the shore with all kinds of parks, magnet schools, restaurants and theaters, as well as hospitals and universities. I mean come on, this is ridiculous. They have more crime because it is a city, but as I mentioned look at the amenities we are nowhere near having. We need to have our finance board seek alternative solutions other than burdening homeowners with excessive taxes.

I do commend Mayor Hess on the strides he is taking towards making Naugatuck a better place to live. The creation of a dog park, walking trail, river walk and festivals, all of which improve our quality of life, are a credit to Naugatuck. He really is working to make a difference, but these improvements still do not justify our unreasonable rate. Greenwich with all its wealth, beaches and amenities is paying an extremely low rate, certainly their housing costs are way higher (mansions cost money, so do yachts and vacation homes), but they could afford to pay a fairer share than 11 percent. The only rates I found higher than ours were Hartford at 74.29, Waterbury at 60.21 and Bridgeport at 54.37, which are unconscionable, and again these are big cities.

Maybe we should have a state-wide rate of say mid-20s to 30s across the counties and equal out some of this injustice. Someone in a nearby surrounding town is paying thousands of dollars less a year for a home with the same square footage. This needs to be addressed and fixed.

Debbie Levesque

Naugatuck