Monday, March 05, 2007

Mill Rate Goes Down, Taxes Go Up

For years everyone has been moaning about Waterbury's high mill rate, while a few people have pointed out that housing is more affordable here than anywhere nearby. Yesterday's news article makes it sound like the city is ready to make some changes.

The good news is that they want to lower the mill rate to 39.5, which is on level with other places around the state and is far less likely to scare off potential buyers. The bad news is that assessed values will be changed to reflect recent market trends. So, for example, if they do a random sampling of houses sold in the past six months and determine that the houses were sold on average for 40% more than their previous valuation, everyone's property value will be increased by 40% (at least, that's how I understand it). The mill rate is then applied to 70% of the property value.

There are going to be a lot of upset building owners when this goes through. One of Waterbury's selling points has been the affordability of housing. I'm sure there are people in the city government who wish that they could bring in as much per house in taxes as the surrounding towns do, but the reality is that most people in Waterbury can't afford to own a home in those towns. Housing in Waterbury has to stay affordable. It's one of the last affordable places in the state.

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