The town’s slow but steady growth in taxable property in recent years continued with the release of the 2018 Grand List, which saw a slight increase in the town’s tax base.
Town Manager Robert Lee said the growth was largely driven by new real estate development, which helped to push the net Grand List up by $7.7 million to just shy of $1.4 billion. Real estate contributed $5.6 million of that increase.
“It’s good to see the real estate numbers creeping up,” he said. “It’s been slow but steady.”
New development included a 10,800 square foot Goodwill store on New Britain Avenue.
Percentage wise, personal property saw the largest increase in growth at 1.7 percent, or $1.6 million added value. Personal property includes equipment owned by businesses.
Automobile value increased $500,000 to $145 million.
Under 2018’s mill rate – the overall growth would contribute an additional $261,000 in revenue to town coffers.
Assessor Ann Marie Heering said the town’s real estate value has almost returned to pre-recession levels.
“If you look over the history of property values … what we’re seeing now is a normal, sustainable increase in values,” she said.
More substantial growth has been seen in recent years in the town’s gross Grand List, which also includes everything exempt from local property taxes, including churches, veterans with tax relief or businesses benefiting from tax abatements. The gross Grand List grew by $10.9 million this year and by $162 million since 2014, a 12 percent increase for that period.
Lee said offering businesses tax abatements helps compete with surrounding municipalities vying for companies.
“I think it certainly helps us compete with other communities that are doing similar things,” he said.
The Connecticut Commons shopping center on New Britain Avenue, home to AMC Plainville Theater, Lowe’s Home Improvement and other businesses, remains by far the largest taxpayer in town with an assessed value of almost $50 million.
It’s followed by Tilcon Connecticut, whose Woodford Avenue headquarters is assessed at $13.3 million, and Valley Water Systems, which is valued at $12.8 million.
With an improving economic outlook for the region, Lee hopes to see growth pick up in coming years.
“We’d like it to be higher over time and perhaps with the economy getting better we will a see that,” he said. “But we are still somewhat dragged down by the Connecticut financial picture.”