With a revaluation underway, Wallingford grand list grows

With a revaluation underway, Wallingford grand list grows

reporter photo

WALLINGFORD — The town’s 2019 taxable grand list increased by 1.01 percent, a bump that means about $1.2 million more in revenue. 

Town Assessor Shelby Jackson said Friday that the increase would have been even higher but for the demolition of the former Bristol-Myers Squibb facility at 5 Research Parkway.

The grand list measures the value of all taxable property in town, including real estate, personal property and motor vehicles. Growth in the grand list means an expansion in the tax base. The current tax rate is 29.19 mills. A mill equals $1 for every $1,000 of assessed value.

The total gross grand list, before tax breaks, came in at $4,463,567,785. The total taxable amount came in at $4,279,322,715, for an increase of 1.01 percent from last year.

According to Jackson, the real estate grand list increased by $12,567,590, or 0.35 percent.

Notable residential construction includes the completion of the Hidden Brook subdivision and creation of a 5-acre subdivision at 605 N. Elm St. Commercial growth includes completion of the Parker Place apartment complex and ongoing
additions to Quality Subaru and Toyota of Wallingford.

The personal property grand list increased by $21,413,946, or 7.42 percent.

This is the third consecutive year of growth after three years of declines in personal property. Most of the growth comes from the installation of natural gas service lines by Yankee Gas (Eversource) throughout town.

The motor vehicle grand list increased by $8,605,636, or 2.31 percent. The number of registered vehicles actually decreased by 468, for a total of 43,872 vehicles.

The town has $646,456,200 in tax-exempt real estate, such as schools and churches. Total real estate exemptions to the grand list came to $184,245,070.

Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. said Friday that growth in the grand list is always “positive news.”

“It reflects continuing investment in our community and the ability of people to purchase personal property,” he said.

It’s too early in the budget process to speculate on a tax rate adjustment, he said.

“Given our loss of Bristol-Myers, I think we’re down more than $1.5 million in taxes as a result,” he said. Other businesses have picked up, he added, “but you aren’t where you would have been.”

Bristol-Myers Squibb had been the town’s top taxpayer before announcing plans to move operations out of state in 2015 and shuttering the building, which is in the demolition process.

Last year, the property was assessed at $32.2 million. That number dropped to $14.1 million this year.

Revaluation underway

The town assessor’s office is currently performing the decennial revaluation of every parcel of real estate in town.

The revaluation impacts the 2020 grand list and is reflected in the tax bills issued in June 2021.

The town conducts a revaluation every five years. Every 10 years is the full physical revaluation, with in-person inspections of properties.

In between is a five-year update revaluation.

“It’s sort of like a drive-by,” Jackson said. “We still have to do a full revaluation in every sense of the word, except we don’t have to do that full physical inspection.”

This is a full revaluation year, and the town has hired Vision Government Solutions to assist with the in-person inspections of about 17,000 properties in Wallingford.

The company was hired after submitting the lowest bid to complete the work, at $544,000. Vision also assisted with the town’s revaluations in 2010 and 2015.

Jackson said he expects the current revaluation to be completed in January 2021, after property owners are given an opportunity to ask questions and dispute any results from the inspection at informal hearings.

After that, property owners can take up any disputes with the Board of Assessment Appeals.

Typical homeowners can expect a knock on the door from an inspector, followed by a letter if they’re not home.

The main reason inspectors want to go inside homes, Jackson said, is to “observe the condition of the interior and make a note of any amenities they may have” — like the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, finished basements or attics.

Twitter: @LCTakores