Assessor gearing up for 2011 revaluation

BEACON FALLS — The Assessor’s Office is gearing up to begin the town’s 2011 revaluation, the first phase of which will include interior and exterior inspections of all homes in Beacon Falls.

Assessor June Chadderton said appraisers would soon begin canvassing the town on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis. There are 12 neighborhoods in all.

“Basically what they’ll be doing is verifying the footprint that we have on our records to see if additions, decks [have been built]; they’ll be wanting to see the interiors, to see if anybody has added finished basements, bathrooms, those kinds of things,” Chadderton said. “If they’re adding more living square footage to their home, that would increase the value.”

The value of a home will only decrease, she said, if it is found to be in a “severely deteriorated condition.”

The town has hired Appraisal Resource Group, Inc. of Coventry, Conn. to perform the revaluation. Beacon Falls is paying the contractor $91,400 for the job, which will take about a year. First Selectman Sue Cable said the expense was split between the 2009-10 and 2010-11 budgets.

Residents will receive postcards in the mail letting them know when appraisers will be in their neighborhoods, and an occupant of each home will be asked to sign a form to verify an inspection was performed.

If a resident is not at home when appraisers are in the neighborhood, workers will take exterior measurements and collect construction data.

Furthermore, Chadderton said, “a notice will be left with the homeowner and they can call for interior inspection. If they just verify that the footprint that we have and everything we have is accurate, [the appraisers] might not need to go back.”

During interior inspections, appraisers will collect data on rooms, bathroom, basements, attics, porches, garages, etc.

Chadderton said regular home maintenance — including the installation of new windows, roofs, or siding — doesn’t “typically add assessed value” to homes. “That’s just ongoing maintenance people do to make sure their homes are in good condition,” she said.

Officials expect the project to be complete in time for the town’s October 2011 Grand List, which will be finalized in January 2011.

“[Residents] will have their chance, when the appraisals are done, to question anything about them as time goes on,” Cable said. “So they should do that if they have any doubts.”

Chadderton said she expects Grand List growth for residential properties to be more modest than in previous revaluation years, as fewer homeowners are springing for expensive home improvement projects during a deep national recession.

“Right now, typically, the building inspector tells me that building permits are way down, that people haven’t been doing as much home improvement as they’ve done in the past” she said.

The town’s last appraisal was in 2006. Residents with questions may contact the Assessor’s Office in Town Hall at (203) 723-55253.