Mayor DeStefano Proposes Lower Mill Rate and Announces Homeowner Fairness Initiative
(2/29/2012) Mayor John DeStefano Jr. on Monday introduced a Homeowner Fairness Initiative to alleviate the impact of rising values for owner-occupied residential properties. The Homeowner Fairness Initiative will be complemented by a decrease in the mill rate from 43.9 to 40.56, resulting in a tax decrease for most owner occupants.
The Homeowner Fairness Initiative will:
• Implement immediately all decreased property values; and
• Will phase-in property values over five years for owner-occupied residential properties whose values are going up.
The phase-in will be based on 2010 property values, the values used as the basis for the most recent tax bills. The proposal will require state enabling legislation as well as Board of Aldermen approval.
The Homeowner Fairness Initiative will be complemented by a reduction in the mill rate from 43.9 to 40.56. The initiative and the lower mill rate will be a component of the Mayor’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2012-2013, which will be submitted to the Board of Aldermen on March 1. The proposed budget will include only slight expenditure growth, and will limit tax revenue to the existing level of taxes, and tax revenue from net new growth in the Grand List.
“Property values are based on fair market value, and it is fair for tax bills to reflect that. But it is also fair that we consider reasonable and affordable measures to mitigate large shifts in value that impact homeowners at a time when we are all feeling the effects of a challenging recession,” said Mayor John DeStefano Jr.
In considering what reasonable and affordable measures were most feasible for the implementation of the 2011 property revaluation, several choices were considered. Those choices were:
• Do nothing and fully implement the 2011 revaluation as required by state statute;
• Implement the only option permitted under state statute: a phase-in of all values;
• Seek state enabling legislation to enact the lower values immediately and cushion homeowners from increases through a phase-in.
The Homeowner Fairness Initiative was drafted after gathering community input from eight public meetings throughout the City late last year, and from weighing the impact to all taxpayers. The Mayor will continue to seek community input on the Homeowner Fairness Initiative and the budget at four public meetings. Those meetings are:
• Saturday, March 3 at 11 a.m. at St. Bernadette’s Church Hall
• Wednesday, March 7 at 6 p.m. at Wilbur Cross High School
• Thursday, March 8 at 6:30 p.m. at Lincoln/Bassett School
• Saturday, March 10 at 10 a.m. at Mitchell Branch Library
Revaluation is a state-mandated process of determining the fair market value of all taxable property. State law mandates that municipalities perform a revaluation every five years, and a full visual revaluation once every ten years. The last revaluation was performed in 2006 based on a statistical analysis of market values. That revaluation was only partially implemented. The 2011 revaluation included a statistical market analysis as well as interior inspections that were performed between summer 2010 and summer 2011.
Of the 20,701 residential properties in New Haven, 46 percent increased in value in the latest revaluation, while 54 percent decreased. When considering only owner-occupied residential property, 28 percent experienced an increase. While more properties decreased in value, the size of the increases outpaced the size of decreases.
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