Property revaluation leaves some Windsor homeowners in shock

By Jennifer Coe - ReminderNews
Windsor - posted Mon., Dec. 23, 2013

Many Windsor residents last month received a letter in the mail that surprised them. All homes in Windsor have gone through a revaluation process recently, and many property owners are saying the new values are much lower than they expected.

The revaluation conducted was completed on all properties on the Grand List as of Oct., 1, 2013. With the goal to determine the fair market value of real estate in Windsor, residents should be aware that all properties are evaluated at only 70 percent of their current fair market value.

“The market value is based on recent sales,” said Town Assessor Lawrence LaBarbera. “Our last revaluation was Oct. 1, 2008, so most values have changed – decreased - since that time. Therefore, the new assessment is a decrease.”

According to the town of Windsor, more than 200 properties have been sold in 2013, ranging in price from $22,000 to more than $9 million. Nationally, the sale of existing homes was on the rise for a good part of 2013, but saw dropping numbers in September, October and November, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Locals reacted to the drop in the market value of their homes.

“Mine went down from $122,640 to $103,950,” said Valerie Allgrove. “I’m shocked,” she said. It seems that no matter what improvements Allgrove makes to her property, a new “fancy kitchen,” and other amenities, her value keeps decreasing – and her tax rate remains the same.

“My biggest question is... will my taxes go down because my house is now valued less?” said Cathi Sasportas, another homeowner. “I have a feeling the mill rate will just go up to cover the difference.”

The answer is not simple.

“From a macro view, the tax rate will likely need to increase as the overall value of the real estate portion of the Grand List has decreased,” said Town Manager Peter Souza. “Therefore, to raise the same amount of tax dollars as the town is this fiscal year, the mill rate will need to be raised.” But Souza added that “this doesn’t automatically result in homeowners seeing an increase in taxes for July 2014, as property values are just one portion tax equation.”

The mill rate in Windsor has actually dropped over the last six years from a high of 28.34, the year the revaluation began. The highest mill rate in Windsor in recent record was in 1988, at 35.70.

The final tax rate does will not be established until after the budget is adopted for the upcoming fiscal year.

Still, even if Windsor residents’ taxes don’t increase, if they were looking forward to selling their home in 2014, the decreased value will certainly have an impact on how much they can sell it for. And in turn, it will also affect Windsor’s potential revenue going forward.

“The current mill rate is 27.33,” added LaBarbera. “The mill rate for next year won’t be determined until the budget process in the spring.”

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