Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Property Assessment

The new year has started, and I'm already wondering how much income tax I'll owe in April. Meanwhile, today's paper informed me that the new assessment for my house is available at www.totalvaluation.com.

(On a side note, I have to say I greatly prefer the old assessor's website--www.waterburyrealestate.org/propertymax/rover30.asp--it has more information, and the information is much easier to understand.)

I've been a little stressed out about the increase in property taxes this year. There's nothing like being told you're taxes might double. As it turns out, if Waterbury's mill rate stays at 55.4, the taxes on my townhouse have increased from $1098 to $1939. Spread out over a year, that's not a significant amount of money, but it's still going to wreak havok on my mortgage payments. For reasons that I don't understand, when I bought my house in June, I was starting with insufficient escrow. My payment amount was increased to compensate; now it's going to increase again. It's a little disheartening, even if the amount isn't all that large. As is the case for many Waterbury residents, I'm living on a budget, and any increase in expenses causes stress.

I'm sure there will be a lot of grumbling throughout Waterbury over the next few months!

UPDATE, March 31, 2008: The mayor's budget for the next fiscal year has the mill rate at 39. I can't imagine the Board of Aldermen will be opposed to that.

UPDATE, June 3, 2008: The budget has been approved, and the city's mill rate is set at 39.92 mills. To figure out your property tax, take the assessed value, multiply by 39.92, then divide by 1000.


Anonymous said...

I just bought my house in Feb 2006 my taxes were $3,492 and now it will increase to $5310 that's a difference of $1818 that to me is ridiculous!!! How can that happen now with Gas prices, food and energy going thru the roof! I have a family of 5 I'm taking care of and I think I may need to sell my home and rent again? This is extremely depressing - how can they do this to us? I'm almost wondering if I voted for the right person now.

What is an assesment based off of, is it based on the year of the home, square footage or improvements? I have no idea but I do know they are going from a 63,500 assesment to a 96,560 I mean in other towns only a home of (4890sq)double the size of mine is assesed at this amount. I only have 1700 square feet how can this be! Truely upsetting I have no clue what to do.

Waterbury Girl said...

As I understand it, the city assessor has assigned new fair market prices for our homes based on recent sales of similar houses. Basically, because the real estate market in Waterbury (and the rest of the nation) shot up dramatically over the past few years, the taxes are now going up as well. (But please bear in mind that I am not an expert in this--this is just my understanding!)

In 2007, I purchased a lovely Scovill row house for $60,000. Six years earlier, it sold for $14,000. There were no significant improvements in that time; the difference in price was due primarily to an overall increase in Waterbury real estate values (and believe me--my agent negotiated the price down as much as possible!). I know of a Hillside mansion which was on the market in 2007 for about $450,000. Roughly five years earlier, it was on the market for a quarter of that price.

Home property taxes in Waterbury are based on 70 percent of the estimated value of the home. The current increase in assessed value is the city's effort to cash in on the recent increase in property values. As the property owner, you do have the option of appealing the valuation of your home (bearing in mind that it's not just square footage--the land also has a value).

Waterbury's building owners have had a difficult time in recent years, primarily (again, this is just my understanding!) due to 30 years of poor government. We are currently undergoing the second revaluation in less than ten years, but only the third since the 1960s.

Waterbury suffered greatly from political corruption in the last decades of the 20th century, as we all know, but also from negligence. We now have a responsible city government, which, I believe, is steering us towards a better future. Unfortunately, we're currently in the difficult transition period.

I know many people who chose to purchase a home in Waterbury, because the equivalent home in surrounding suburbs cost four times as much. They acknowledged that the mill rate in Waterbury was higher, but the final tax bill was still smaller.

On the other hand, many people in the suburbs are afraid to come into Waterbury, because they see this city as a giant slum, partly due to the low property values.

We're in a difficult transition phase. The rumor (as published in the Republican-American) is that the mill rate is going to be lowered to 40. Taxes are still going to go up, but not as much as if the rate stays at 55. The increased property values and lowered mill rate will put Waterbury on a "better" footing compared to other towns. Hopefully city services will improve along with the increased taxes.

At any rate, as I said, you do have the option of appealing your revaluation. The upside is that your house might (no guarantees!) sell for a fair amount more than your purchase price.

As far as the recent election goes... the new assessments were going to happen no matter who won your vote!

Anonymous said...

my wife & I purchased our home in 2003 for the reasons you specified - as first time homeowners, we got more bang for our buck. Now, with us living on one income (for now) and two little ones, this is going to stretch out already thin budget to the breaking point. Factor in the increases in everything else - food, gas, oil - and it's unbelievable! The only thing that is not increasing is my salary LOL.
Something's gotta give....and soon.
I sure hope the rumor about the decrease in the mill rate is true.

I recently read an article about how the governor is dismayed at the fact the Connecticut is the only state in the union that is actually seeing a decline on population. Well it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out why. Eventually the only people that will be left here are the richy riches in Fairfield County and the rest of the state will become their playground - we can call it the Aspen of the East.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering about a possible decrease in the mill rate, and my Internet search has led me here.
You guessed it, I got my revaluation in the mail yesterday. Went from 92K to 144K - over a 50% increase. That factors to an extra 3000 per year which I do not have. And similar to the rest of you, I have a postage stamp of house and lot. If the mill rate comes down to 40 (yeah, right), the increase would be bearable, but it would still hurt.
Anyone know how to find out more info on potential mill rate changes?

Waterbury Girl said...

I've seen it in the Republican-American twice (I think) that the mill rate is going to be lowered to 40. But I haven't seen or heard anything about when this would happen, nor have I seen or heard anything guaranteeing that this will be the new rate.

Anonymous said...

My Mother and Father bought this house in Waterbury 54 years ago. Now that my Father passed away, she has been taking on all expenses on very limited income. She has now having to deal with her house assesment going from $77,000 to $160,000. Even if the mill rate is to drop to 40, that will be better than a 50% increase in her propery taxes. This city obviously does not care about the people that have supported it even though all the corruption. I see a city being created where new residents and smaller homes/properties prevail. New residents are easier to manipulate and smaller homes/properties are easier to collect taxes on. My mother has lived here in Waterbury longer than most proving her love for this city. I would hope all the residents of this city to love it too and protest this outrageous tax increase coming. I would say to all the hardworking and new home owners to refrain from optimism and the burying of your heads. Organise with your neighbors, ask the tough questions. One thing is for sure, with all the additional tax revenue the city is demanding, there will be a very very short period of prosperity followed by hardship twice as bad as it is now. The corruption, the waist, and the stupidity in city hall only in part has been flushed out. And those remaining and working behind the scenes are just waiting for the income to come back to skim from. Let's put a stop to it.

Anonymous said...

I am hoping, as a friend has told me, that even though the assessment went up, the tax on the new assessment will not go into effect until the next cycle (July 1 maybe?). Otherwise we are all screwed because we would be paying the 55.5 mill rate on the new assessment starting Jan 1 (As in right now). That would be bad. Extremely Bad.
If the new assesment is not taxed until July (again I am only guessing), this gives the powers that be 6 months to adjust the mill rate to something much more fair.
I guess we and only wait and hope.
When I bought in 2001, the reassessment and the mill rate shot up 3 days after I closed, and when I got my new mortgage payment book a year later, I had a $500.00 per month escrow shortage that I was blindsided by. I cannot have that happen again.

Anonymous said...

I sit here and read all these comments and I must agree its not easy paying for all these property taxes in waterbury.I too had escrow shortages twice in one year and I only lived in my home one year.even though, the losers are gone iam sure there is still scamming going on.hopefully,it gets better but why should I sit here and kid myself