BERLIN — A total of $44,876,744 in property was added to the town’s tax rolls, according to the most recent grand list.
If the current 33.93 mill rate remains the same, the 1.92 percent growth in the grand list would provide an additional $1.5 million in revenue to the town.
Town Assessor Joseph Ferraro attributed the growth to a comparatively low mill rate and a push for development from the local government.
" … There's a good mix of commercial and residential here,” Ferraro said. “The school system is a good school system and when people move, they always look into the school system.”
Much of the grand list growth was in personal property — largely made up of business assets — which grew by $31.8 million or 1.6 percent. A significant portion is due to improvements to transformers and lines in Berlin and throughout the state by Eversource, Ferraro said.
“Berlin is another example of the investments we’re making in the towns we serve across the state,” said Eversource spokesperson Mitch Gross.
The value of motor vehicles registered in town went up by $4.3 million or 2 percent, while real estate held steady with a gain of 0.03 percent, which amounts to $8.7 million.
“I think businesses are reinvesting in the business itself, newer equipment, technological based equipment, and making themselves stronger for the long term,” said Economic Development Director Chris Edge.
When the town was drafting a tax abatement program in 2019, Edge said they looked at the impact it would have over a 20-year period. Officials felt the town would lose some tax revenue short term, but would gain in the long run by attracting businesses that might otherwise not moved to town.
“I truly believe we’re heading in the right direction,” Edge said.
Mayor Mark Kaczynski feels Town Hall is more responsive to businesses and residents looking to move to town.
“I think we’ve made it a lot easier and worked much harder for people who come to Town Hall who want to develop properties in Berlin or move to Berlin … as well for homeowners too who want to add onto their home,” he said.
The mayor also cited a transit-oriented development next to the train station and two mixed-use developments proposed for the Berlin Turnpike, on both sides of Deming Road.
Kaczynski would like to see some of the new revenue used to avoid bonding for upcoming infrastructure work to avoid new debt as the town pays off its old bills.
“Despite the fact that we’re always going to need to borrow some for major projects we’re trying to keep that low,” he said.
Once the town’s approximately $9 million in yearly debt payments have gone down, the freed up revenue can make a “world of difference” in the school and municipal budgets, Kaczynski said.