As value of homes soar in borough, so too could taxes

Naugatuck Town Hall at 229 Church Street can be seen on July 6. Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News

By Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News

NAUGATUCK — Property values are on the rise as the borough looks to complete the revaluation on its real estate.

Since the last property revaluation was completed in 2019, the average single-family home is up 39.2%. Multi-family homes are up 45.7% and condos and mobile homes have gone up 40.2%, Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said at the Board of Mayor and Burgesses meeting on August 2.

“If those numbers hold true, there can be a substantial reduction in the mill rate,” Hess said.

The state requires municipalities to perform a full property revaluation every 10 years to assess the market values of real estate for tax purposes, and a less-intensive revaluation every five years.

During the most recent budget process a few months ago, the Board of Mayor and Burgesses unanimously voted to set the tax rate at 47.75 mills – the same level as this previous fiscal year – for 2022-23.

The tax rate is the amount of taxes payable on the assessed value of property. One mill equals $1 for every $1,000 of assessed value. Under a 47.75 tax rate, property taxes on a home assessed at $100,000 are $4,775.

Hess said borough officials are awaiting the numbers on the commercial and residential side.

Assessor Shelby Jackson said those numbers will be coming in about another month or so.

“Then we’ll really be able to see where the shifting is going to occur, how it’s going to occur,” Jackson said.

Naugatuck Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess. Contributed

The borough board at the beginning of the year approved a $159,000 contract with eQuality Valuation Services LLC of Waterbury for a revaluation of all real estate.

Jackson said the entry-level homes are probably going to see a bigger increase in taxes than the decrease in the mill rate.

“The lower-end homes are going to see very significant decrease in the mill rate but, because they are so undervalued, they’re going to see an increase in their tax base and it could be very significant,” Hess said.

The state’s Office of Policy and Management (OPM) has allowed the borough to move up its revaluation to October of this year when it was scheduled for October of 2023. OPM recently sent a Jackson an email where the borough can do a revaluation this year but has to do another one next year to get back on schedule, Hess said.

“If they’re going to insist on doing it two years in a row, we’re going to have to really think about how we approach it because we’re not going to pay for two revals, two years in a row,” Hess said. “So OPM has thrown a monkey wrench into this and Shelby and I are working on it but we’re going to need to evaluate that.”

Hess said the borough will get the revaluation people to give borough officials some different scenarios in order to find the fairest way to move ahead.

“I want to think that OPM will have a common sense approach to the Naugatuck situation,” Deputy Mayor Robert Neth said.

Hess said borough properties have been undervalued for a long time and haven’t been adjusted properly. Hess said he argued with the last revaluation company to complete a revaluation in 2019, Municipal Valuation Services, LLC, where numbers were adjusted correctly.

“It’s never ever been adequately adjusted and it makes for a difficult problem,” Hess said.