Letter: Proposed housing project could drive up taxes in Beacon Falls

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To the editor,

In the article “Developer eyes land in Beacon Falls for 109 homes” (Citizen’s News, Nov. 19, 2020), the developer, Stephen Bellis, a principal in Hopp Brook Developers LLC, touts a potential “tax boom” of $1 million in tax revenue for the town Beacon Falls, and boasts that “officials should be jumping up and down for this.”

Instead, officials and residents should be jumping up and down in opposition to the proposed housing development. And here is why.

Mr. Bellis compared his proposed development to Chatfield Farms. However, that is an apples-to-oranges comparison. Chatfield Farms is exclusively a 55-and-older community, and therefore places little or no financial burden on the school system in Region 16.

By his own admission, Mr. Bellis states that the development will cater to “older couples … or younger couples buying their first homes,” the article states.

For each young couple buying their first home — and with the possibility of two kids in the Region 16 school system per house — each child will result in costs to the school system of about $16,000 a year, and in turn the Beacon Falls taxpayers, as correctly pointed out by First Selectman Gerard Smith in the article.

That said, let’s do a little hypothetical mental math. Assume a new home in Hopp Brook Estates sells to a young couple buying their first home for $300,000. That house will be taxed at 70% of its appraised value: $210,000. The current tax rate in Beacon Falls is 35.9 mills. That new house will generate $7,539 (210 x 35.9) in annual taxes to the Town of Beacon Falls.

One child in the school system will cost the taxpayers $16,000, and a second child another $16,000, totaling $32,000 in tax cost for that one house.

Do people really want 100-plus proposed new houses in Hopp Brook Estates with each house potentially increasing the school budget by $32,000 while bringing in $7,539 per house in tax revenue? That’s exactly how the math works, there is no embellishment here.

One way or the other, residents may want to call or write Town Hall, and/or attend a meeting, in either support of or opposition to the Hopp Brook Estates project, as 100-plus houses could drastically drive up taxes in Beacon Falls to account for its portion of a potentially larger school budget.

James Hagan

Beacon Falls