Property values rise after revaluation

After the latest revaluation, property values in Naugatuck increased an average of 6.5 percent. –LUKE MARSHALL

NAUGATUCK — Property values are up an average of 6.5 percent following the completion of a borough-wide revaluation.

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. The recently-completed revaluation was a full physical revaluation conducted by Municipal Valuation Services, LLC.

The 6.5 percent increase in property values equals about a $96.1 million increase is real estate values over the 2017 grand list, according to borough officials. Commercial property increased $28.8 million, or 9.59 percent, to $329.3 million. Industrial property increased $10.7 million, or 16.5 percent, to $75.5 million, and residential property increased $56.5 million, or 5.12 percent, to $1.16 billion.

Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said the residential property list includes vacant land and out buildings. Single-family and multi-family homes increased by a significantly higher percentage, he said.

A detailed breakdown of how the values of different residential properties increased wasn’t available as of last week.

Hess expects the revaluation and the overall economic growth in the borough to add approximately $108 million to the 2018 grand list.

Based on the increase from the revaluation alone, the tax rate would decrease 3.1 mills, or 6.5 percent, to 45.25 mills before any changes in the borough budget and spending are factored in.

That doesn’t necessarily mean residents will see a decrease in their real estate taxes. The impact on residents’ taxes will depend on how their properties fared under the revaluation compared to the average increase.

“There are winners and losers with any revaluation. Some people have homes that were overvalued in the past and may see a tax decrease. Some people have homes that were undervalued. If you are right in the middle, and your property values went up in the range of the averages, you are probably going to be neutral,” Hess said.

The revaluation was supposed to be completed in 2017, but the borough received a one-year extension to allow Assessor Carol Ann Tyler, who was hired in 2016, time to settle into the position.

Tyler said the extension allowed her to go through all of the files and get acquainted with what the borough needed to do to ensure everything was correct.

“We needed that year break so we could figure out what was out there and what was incorrect,” Tyler said. “We pretty much straightened out a lot of that. I know there is always going to be more, but we will try to get it year by year.”

Tyler attributed some of the increase in property values to the borough updating its records and comparing what it had on file with what was actually built.

“So we really needed that physical revaluation out in the field, looking at all the properties,” Tyler said.

Both Hess and Tyler recommended that residents check the field card that was sent to property owners detailing how and why a property increased or decreased. If residents feel their revaluation wasn’t done correctly, they can contact Municipal Valuation Services at 203-292-5500 to appeal, Tyler said.

The borough last completed a revaluation in 2012. Property values dropped by 26 percent overall following this revaluation, leading to an 11.25-mill increase in the tax rate to make up for the loss in the grand list.

At the time, officials attributed the steep drop to the revaluation being the first one performed since the economic troubles of 2008.

Hess said the revaluation completed last year confirmed what he already knew — people are moving into Naugatuck for a better future.

“In my opinion, in Naugatuck, people looking for homes get a great bang for their buck. We are really a small city with a hometown atmosphere. We have a very good educational system, we are low on crime, we have a beautiful downtown, we have an increasing grand list, and a lot of reasons to be hopeful for the future,” Hess said.