MERIDEN — The city’s grand list grew by 1.47% during fiscal year 2022 to just over $4.086 billion, according to city officials.
City Assessor Melinda Fonda, in a March 2 memo to City Manager Timothy Coon, provided an overview of the drivers behind the increase.
Fonda noted that her office inspected more than 2,600 properties during 2022. As a result of those inspections, the real estate portion of the grand list increased by more than $22.2 million.
“However, this increase was absorbed by the additions to the tax exempt portion of the grand list and application of property exemptions,” Fonda wrote, adding that as a result of those exemptions, the real estate portion of the grand list actually declined by 0.11%.
The overall value of tax exempt properties grew from just over $612 million to $632.8 million. Property exemptions also increased from $29.19 million to $34.2 million, an increase that Fonda attributed to new applications received for 2022 and to changes in Connecticut state statute.
The decline in real estate was offset by what Fonda described as a “substantial increase” of more than $37 million in the personal property portion of the grand list.
Fonda attributed those increases to five companies, whose aggregate increase totaled $16.5 million. Those companies are Yankee Gas, Connecticut Light and Power, Computer Sciences Corporation, R&L Transfer and AT&T Services, Fonda listed.
Five new businesses added close to $1.65 million in additional value, Fonda wrote. They include Aldi; Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance; R&L Carriers Shared Services; R&R Freight Logistics LLC; and Liberty Restaurants Enterprise Inc., which operates the Popeyes restaurant on East Main Street.
Meanwhile, motor vehicles showed growth — increasing to more than $25.96 million.
“The commercial vehicles are a major contributor to this uptick in value,” Fonda wrote. “Cities and towns across the state have seen similar increases.”
Fonda noted that exemptions in that category also increased to $4.08 million, from the previous $2.65 million.
After net assessments — combining all real estate, personal and motor vehicle assets — the city’s number one taxpayer was Connecticut Light & Power Co., with more than $89 million in net assessments. The second highest payer was Yankee Gas Services Co., with more than $55.867 million in assessments. Radio Frequency Systems Inc. was third with $29.3 million, while B33 Townline Square II LLC was fourth with $26.9 million. BW Meriden LLC was fifth with $23.9 million in net assessments.
The updated grand list follows the release of the city’s 2023-2024 budget proposal. According to budget documents previously shared by Coon, the $217.7 million spending plan calls for an overall 4.2% increase over current spending levels.
That request includes a proposed increase of 2.67 mills to the city's current mill rate. That rate of increase would raise the city’s outer district mill rate from its current rate of 32.99 mills to 35.66 mills. The budget proposal did not yet detail a proposed mill rate for the city’s inner district.
The City Council, during its regular meeting Monday night, briefly discussed the budget proposal. The council’s finance committee is scheduled to hold a series of budget workshops this month and in early April during which individual city department heads will discuss their departments’ budget requests.
Separate from the budget deliberations, the council authorized the use of federal American Rescue Plan Act funds toward requests put forth by the Meriden Police Cadets, Legendz Barbershop and Solomon Goffe House. The Meriden Police Cadets will receive $244,000 million to support its program, which serves teens and young adults between the ages of 14 and 21.