By KAITLYN NAPLES
Bristol real estate property owners should expect to receive their final revaluation notices the second week of January. These notices come every five years, and tell property owners how much their piece of land, commercial or residential, has been assessed at. The last time revaluation was held in Bristol was 2007.
The city’s assessor, Tom DeNoto, said between 2002 and 2007 the tax burden was pushed onto city residential property owners. He said in his opinion, in 2006, the market “peaked.”
“That was when we hit a residential cliff,” DeNoto said, adding that the residential property values were outpacing the commercial.
This year, DeNoto said, since 2007 the situation has made a “360 degree turn,” and homeowners should be expecting an average of a 15 percent decrease in real estate value.
Now, homeowners just want to know how much their taxes will go up or down. Unfortunately, DeNoto doesn’t have that answer just yet. Homeowners won’t know officially until the mill rate, currently 28.75 mills, is set for the next fiscal year. If the mill rate stayed the same for the next fiscal year, property taxes would likely decrease. The mill rate adjusts based on the Grand List, which is expected to be signed off at the end of January, and deficit spending. The Grand List is 80 percent residential and 20 percent commercial. There are about 21,141 taxable parcels in the city, DeNoto said.
On the commercial side, those values stayed relatively moderate, DeNoto said, and apartments in Bristol are seeing high occupancy rates, which could be because people can’t afford to purchase single-family homes right now. ESPN, one of the city’s largest taxpayers, will see its value increase. As far as personal property (which is the terms used for equipment such as power lines, assembly lines, computers, etc), such as what manufacturers are taxed on, the value decreased by 2 percent. Even though it is technically a decrease, DeNoto said it is an increase because after one year of new property, it devalues by 10 percent every year after that.
“It still shows growth and redevelopment in Bristol,” DeNoto said, adding that Bristol is the 11th largest city in Connecticut, and “we have a thriving Federal Hill and Chippens Hill,” and over one dozen new properties were built over the last year.
“There’s upward mobility,” he said. “The economy in Bristol is still good.”
Reasons for property values decreasing is largely because of the real estate market. DeNoto said there are thousands of available properties just in Bristol, some of which are due to foreclosures. Five years ago, said DeNoto, values were inflated. Most of the young generation wasn’t able to put 10 percent down on a $250,000 home. Values of homes have gone down, however, a lot of them are older so the amount of work and rebuilding that has to go into homes is still expensive.
Residents likely will see an increase on their motor vehicle tax bill this year. Even if there is a mill rate increase that isn’t enough to make a dent in a property tax bill, vehicle owners will probably see an increase on that tax bill. DeNoto said ever since “cash-for-clunkers” program began, new car sales have declined drastically. He said the Supplemental Motor Vehicle tax list, which is for vehicles that were registered between Oct. 2 and July 31, has increased by 7 percent in the last two years. The cars that fall under this tax list are usually replacement ones or downsizing.
As far as neighborhoods go, values in the West End neighborhood saw about a 20 percent decrease in value, while the northeast portion of the city, which is the side closest to Farmington, saw less than a 15 percent decrease in value.
Residents should be receiving their final revaluation notice the second week of January. If desired, residents must file a “notice to appeal” form by Feb. 20. Forms are available on the assessor’s page on the city’s website, www.bristolct.gov/ assessor, or in the assessor’s office on the first floor of City Hall, 111 N. Main St., Bristol. Hearings are scheduled to be held in March.
Comments? Email knaples@BristolObserver. com.
By KAITLYN NAPLES