WALLINGFORD — The Town Council
has approved a settlement for a tax appeal lawsuit filed by Bristol-Myers Squibb last year.
The lawsuit stems from a disagreement over the assessed value of the pharmaceutical company’s 180-acre property at 5 Research Parkway.
Corporation Counsel Janis Small said she couldn’t disclose any details of the settlement and said documents regarding the settlement wouldn’t be publicly available until later this month.
“There's really not much I can say at this point,” Small said.
As part of a townwide revaluation of all properties in 2015, the town reassessed Bristol-Myers’ property at a value of $121 million and an assessed value of $84.7 million, according to a court complaint filed by Bristol-Myers in April 2016. Bristol-Myers claimed Wallingford overvalued its property and sought to reduce its assessment.
The Town Council voted 7-1 to approve a settlement Tuesday after discussing the matter for about 20 minutes in a closed-door meeting.
Assessor Shelby Jackson said regarding the settlement, “a tentative settlement was reached after a long and hard and difficult process.” He referred all other questions to the Law Department.
Councilors did not discuss the matter after leaving executive session and before voting on the settlement. Republican Craig Fishbein was the only councilor who voted no.
Under state law, each municipality does a reassessment of all residential and commercial property every five years.
Small said it’s not uncommon for businesses to file tax appeal lawsuits following a revaluation period. The town has settled several tax appeal lawsuits in the last year, and Small said the appeal by Bristol-Myers was the last major appeal the town had left to settle.
Bristol-Myers, the town's top taxpayer, has announced it is leaving Connecticut in 2018 as part of a nationwide restructuring of its operations. In 2015, the company paid $2.3 million in taxes on its property, according to Jackson.
The Bristol-Myers facility has received little interest despite "robust" marketing efforts, property broker James Panczykowski said in February.
"I wish we could say we've been successful … but it's not the case," he said at the time.
Bristol-Myers was in negotiations with a boarding school for the property, but a zoning amendment approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission earlier this year prevented the school from purchasing the property, the company said.