Naugatuck reval nears: Waterbury company hired for job

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Cars drive down Church Street in Naugatuck toward Rubber Avenue in 2021. Andreas Yilma, Citizen’s News

By Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News

NAUGATUCK — This spring the borough will undertake a required revaluation of all the houses and buildings.

At its Jan. 4 meeting, the Board of Mayor and Burgesses approved a $159,000 contract with eQuality Valuation Services LLC of Waterbury for a revaluation of all real estate.

Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said the borough sent out a request for proposals to major revaluation companies. Officials received three bids and eQuality came out as the top choice.

Funds have already been designated to the revaluation, he added.

“Most of the money is money we’ve put aside for reval,” Hess said, “so it’s not a big financial ticket for us.”

According to Assessor Shelby Jackson, when borough officials put together a competitive bid, they had three things in mind — to hire the best contractor in terms of expertise; to get a competitive price; and to allow the borough to have full control over the process.

The assessor’s office recommended eQuality. The company is licensed and certified by the state Office of Policy and Management to conduct revaluations, said Jackson.

“They’re our neighbor, right next door in Waterbury, so they’re certainly familiar with the local market and in particular Naugatuck,” Jackson said at the meeting.

Part of the revaluation will include a flyover in the spring, according to Jackson. The new contract will also include the addition of software.

“There will also be software and hardware integration and implementation,” Jackson said.

The assessor’s office has tax billing and administrative software through Quality Data Services. With the addition of the computer assistant mass appraisal software, the borough will be fully integrated as one software solution with eQuality, said Jackson.

N. Warren ‘Pete’ Hess. Archive

Jackson said officials would like to have the contract signed and executed by the end of this month, start the process through April and focus on the fieldwork in May.

“We want to go visit properties that were sold because we want to understand the conditions of the sale at the time of the sale… We will be out in the field checking measurements, checking buildings, doing all of field checks to make sure that the information we have is accurate and then we do a field review as we generate preliminary values,” Jackson said.

Sometime in the early fall officials will finalize the valuations, which will be followed by informal hearings in December to clarify any potential wrong information, according to Jackson.

“January of 2023 is when we plan to implement the new values as part of our 2022 grand list,” Jackson said.

Property values previously increased an average of 6.5% following the completion of a borough-wide revaluation that was finished in 2018.

Burgess Rocky Vitale said he thinks one of the biggest concerns is properties that were upgraded without permits pulled.

“Is the flyover enough to take a look at that?” Vitale said at the meeting. “Is there any other way to capture those lost items?”

Jackson said in the summer, officials are going to be doing a field review to develop preliminary values.

“We’ll actually be driving by every property in town,” Jackson said. “We’ll see if something on the exterior has been done.”

Vitale asked if the recent increase in sales values of houses is ultimately temporary, would it still be fair to use those current values.

Jackson said officials will have to track the real estate market.

“As we move forward into the spring market, we’ll have to watch what happens economically. If the Fed decides to increase interest rates, that may trigger a slowdown of property values,” Jackson said. “It may trigger a pullback to some extent.”

Jackson said by identifying any trends, officials are confident that they can assign accurate and equitable values.