Regency resident sues town over assessment

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Regency at Prospect resident Wendy Faulkner is suing the town over the assessment of her home. –FILE PHOTO

PROSPECT — A Regency at Prospect resident is suing the town over the assessment of her home following the recent revaluation.

Regency resident Wendy Faulkner filed the lawsuit after a revaluation in which the majority of property values in town went down except nearly all of the homes at Regency.

Like many Regency residents, Faulkner first tried to take her complaint before the Board of Assessment Appeals. According to the lawsuit, Faulkner’s claim was denied by the Board of Assessment Appeals on March 24.

“[The board] stated in its notice its reason for such action as: ‘Based on the information presented by the applicant, no adjustment is warranted,’” the lawsuit reads.

The lawsuit goes on to say Faulkner was aggrieved by the actions of the board and chose to pursue legal recourse.

After the last revaluation, the town’s net Grand List dropped by 5.9 percent due to an average 7 percent drop in real estate values in town.

At Regency, however, most real estate values increased following the revaluation. Many Regency residents have voiced their displeasure with the results of the revaluation and appealed to the Board of Assessment Appeals to no avail. Faulkner is the first resident to bring a lawsuit against the town.

Assessor Vincent Leone explained, in a previous interview, the variation in the Regency assessments from other homes in town occurred because the town looks at sales of houses through October 2011 when revaluing homes.

“The overall sales in the town went down, but in that development they went up,” Leone said in a previous interview. “We have to take whatever the sales are and base our values on that.”

The mill rate, which was set by the town June 5, will increase by 2.38 mills in the coming fiscal year. Of that increase, 1.68 mills were to offset the decrease in the grand list.

For Regency residents, like Faulkner, who did not see a decrease in the revaluation, this new mill rate equates to a much larger tax increase.

After the revaluation, Faulkner’s house was valued at $220,320, according to the lawsuit. If there was no change since the last valuation, Faulkner will see her taxes increase over $500.

Faulkner is seeking a reduction of the assessment along with any and all addition relief the court determines appropriate, according to the lawsuit. The initial court date for the hearing is set for June 26.

Town officials declined to comment due to the pending litigation. Faulkner could not be reached for comment.