NAUGATUCK — An increase in motor vehicle and real estate values was enough to offset a dip in personal property values and carry Naugatuck’s 2011 net grand list to a slim increase.
“We’re holding our own,” Assessor George Hlavachek said.
The net grand list for Oct. 1, 2011 is $2,034,989,616 Hlavachek said, an increase of about $7.6 million or 0.4 percent.
Mayor Robert Mezzo said given the country’s economic state it’s encouraging to see any increase.
“Our fear for the past several years given the economy is that we would have had a negative grand list,” Mezzo said.
A town’s grand list is the total valuation of taxable property within a town. Increases in towns’ grand lists often help to offset potential mill rate increases.
Hlavachek said the increase equates to roughly $247,900 in new tax revenue for the borough.
The grand list is broken down into three categories — motor vehicles, personal property, and real estate.
Motor vehicle values rose about $8.8 million or 5.4 percent from the 2010 grand list to approximately $173.5 million.
Hlavachek said it’s typical to see around a 5 percent increase when it comes to motor vehicle values. He said new car prices are increasing and more people are buying used cars. The increase in used car purchases is causing a shortage in the market and slowing down the depreciation of their value, he explained.
Hlavachek said he’s seen cases in which car values have actually gone up over the course of a year.
Real estate values under the new grand list are roughly $1.8 billion, a small $410,690 or 0.23 increase from 2010.
Due to the state of the economy, Hlavachek said there is not a lot of building occurring in the borough. He said fewer contractors are building “speculation housing” and homeowners aren’t putting on additions.
“That’s still a very struggling sector of our economy,” Mezzo said about the real estate market throughout the country.
Personal property values declined in the new grand list. Personal property covers items and equipment owned by businesses. For the 2011 grand list, personal property values dipped about $1.7 million or 2.3 percent to approximately $72.2 million.
Although the net values for personal property dropped, Hlavachek said the gross values increased by several million dollars. He explained the net loss stems from state tax exemptions for manufacturing equipment. Naugatuck companies bought more equipment, he said, but due to the exemptions the borough isn’t seeing new tax revenue on that equipment.
“Companies are taking their profits and putting them back into their companies and gearing up, hopefully, for a stronger economy in the future,” Hlavachek said.
Mezzo said he was expecting an increase in personal property due to businesses recently expanding in the borough. Part of the challenge of transitioning that business growth into taxable dollars, he said, is that the impact isn’t felt for a few years due to the many programs that use tax abatements to entice businesses.
Anyone interested in appealing their assessment must pick up an application at the Assessor’s Office in Town Hall, beginning on Feb. 1. Applications must be completed and returned to the office by Feb. 21.