Revaluation workshops to be held in Manchester
By Martha Marteney - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Thu., Sep. 22, 2011
The Town of Manchester is nearing the end of its property revaluation, and is offering workshops to help taxpayers and residents learn more about the process in advance of the revaluation notices being mailed in November.
“In one way or another,” said Director of Assessment and Collection John Rinaldi, “you’re paying property tax,” either as the property owner or as a renter. “Property taxes as a whole is how Connecticut municipalities fund themselves,” explained Rinaldi. Approximately 75 percent of Manchester’s budget is funded through taxes.
Rinaldi and Director of Finance Greg Simmons recently held a workshop with the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce. Simmons explained that the revaluation, or property assessment, is separate from the generation of taxes. The amount the property owner pays in taxes is a calculation of the property assessment based on the town’s budget.
There are approximately 19,000 properties in Manchester, all of which have been reassessed in the process of the current revaluation. Wherever possible, the contractors of Vision Appraisal Technology conducted on-site analysis over the course of the one-and-a-half-year data collection phase. “Our job as appraisers is to value the property correctly,” said Rinaldi. In Manchester, the assessment value is 70 percent of the current fair market value of the property.
“The market really is not as down as most people think,” said Rinaldi, whose department is responsible for conducting the data analysis of the rental and sales market, in order to show trends in market value. Across the board, most properties have shown a negative appreciation - more commonly known as depreciation or devaluation - of 6 percent. In Manchester, some 90 percent of the real estate is residential, with the majority being single-family houses. “Our single-family market has performed really well,” he said, although the multi-family market has taken a big drop. Commercial properties have trended a decrease in value, while condominium values have been inconsistent, depending on the value of the individual unit.
Before the revaluation notices are received, Rinaldi strongly suggests that all property owners consider their properties and come to their own determination of the property’s value. The current property values can all be accessed online at the assessor’s website at townofmanchester.org/Assessor, then by clicking on the left tab for “Vision Appraisal Real Estate Database and Sales Search.” Once the link is made, various searches can be conducted, such as by address or by recent sales.
Once the revaluation notices are mailed in November 2011, property owners will have an opportunity to request an informal hearing with Vision Appraisal Technology to discuss any perceived discrepancies. After Rinaldi signs off on the Grand List in 2012, property owners may then appeal the value to the Board of Assessment. Simmons noted that when seeking an adjustment, the property owner needs to be prepared to provide data to justify the requested change, such as a bank appraisal or comparative sales analysis.
“Government is a democracy,” said Rinaldi. “This is your time to participate.” He stressed the importance of each property owner understanding the revaluation process, in addition to understanding the correlation between the assessment and taxes. “Revaluation doesn’t create or lose taxes,” he explained, “it just spreads them differently.” He encouraged property owners to review the online database in order to compare their properties with similar properties in town. If the property owner feels his or her property is not correctly assessed, Rinaldi wants to hear about it. “There’s nothing you’re going to say that offends us,” he said. “Value is an opinion.”
The revaluation workshops are open to the public and will be held on Thursday, Oct. 19, at 1 p.m. at the Senior Center; Thursday, Oct. 20, at 6:30 p.m., in the Hearing Room at the Town of Manchester Lincoln Center and again on Monday, Oct. 24, at 6:30 p.m., at the Lincoln Center.
The Town of Manchester is also willing to schedule revaluation workshops with civic groups or local organizations. Any civic or local organizations in Manchester interested in scheduling a workshop may find out more information by calling 860-647-3011.
Manchester residents with more questions about the revaluation are urged to contact the Town of Manchester Office of Assessment & Collection at 860-647-3011 or visit the Office of Assessment & Collection’s website at townofmanchester.org/assessor/. By clicking on the Revaluation Link, the viewer can also access the workshop handouts online.