Town Budget Votes Looming Next Month

Thanks to a prosperous business district in town, the mill rate will not increase First Selectman Jim Zeoli said at a recent press conference.{{more}}

However, Zeoli cautioned, taxpayers should not necessarily expect their taxes to remain the same.

Finance Director Al Chiarenzelli said the $61.4 million budget reflects a 3.6 percent increase.

Zeoli and Chiarenzelli said the recent revaluation of properties played a roll in many not having a tax increase.

“The bottom line is if your assessment went up your taxes will go up and if your assessment went down your taxes will stay the same,” Zeoli said.

While not all homes went down in revaluation, Chiarenzelli said last year the average home in town was valued at $355,000.

This year, with revaluation, the current value of that same home is $328,000.

A mill is $1 per $1,000 assessed value.

Zeoli and Chiarenzelli said a number of factors came together for the benefit of most taxpayers this year.

Residents had the benefit of freezing the last revaluation in its second year (2006) of the five year phase in. That freezing, Zeoli said, was state authorized.

“If we had not frozen revaluation we would have a major deficit in the current year,” Chiarenzelli said.

Zeoli said there had been a major increase in economic development the past year, especially with United Illuminating and Colony Hardware moving in. Plus Yale University occupying the former Bayer Pharmaceutical site has added to the coffers.

Additionally, Zeoli said, although the university has a state Payment in Lieu of Taxes status Yale makes up the difference in taxes due to the town.

The PILOT program is a property tax exemption to nonprofit institutions of higher education.

Zeoli said the grand list went up about five percent largely because of UI.

“This was the year all their property came on line,” Zeoli said.

Chiarenzelli said last year the ratio of residential to commercial property tax was 65/35 this year that ratio has shifted to 62 / 37.

“Our budget is solid, our finances are solid, our fund balance is stronger than any other community around. Pensions are funded,” Zeoli said.