Most Burdened Homeowners Should Expect Some Tax Relief From Property Revaluation

A majority of homeowners smacked by the revaluation of taxable property five years ago will receive relief in their July 2021 tax bills, officials of the appraisal company hired to do the work informed the City Council’s Budget & Appropriations Committee.

Mike Fazio and Chris Kerin, executives at Fairfield-based Municipal Valuation Services, a leading assessment company in Connecticut, provided councilors Monday night with a general overview of what to expect.

Single family homes, according to Fazio, increased in five years by 32 percent, condos 38 percent. “Bridgeport is experiencing a healthy real estate market. I have never seen it this active and positive,” he said.

So if you’re a homeowner in Black Rock, Brooklawn, North End and Upper East Side expect to receive a reconciling of the bleak numbers from five years ago. Black Rockers, in particular, felt ambushed by the lopsided assessments that saw taxes catapult.

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The Upper East Side and East End saw “healthy increase” due to investor property transactions. Translation: some neighborhood homeowners, a reversal from five years ago, could experience tax increases based on assessments.

On the commercial end the most growth the past five years was achieved in the apartment market, fast food property and service stations with moderate growth in industrial facility sector. Apartments such as the coop Success Village off Boston Avenue are placed in the commercial column.

Downtown market growth is an area flat from five years ago.

In early April, Governor Ned Lamont issued an executive order permitting municipalities to continue with ongoing property revaluation programs without having to conduct full, in-person inspections of property. In lieu of this requirement, municipalities can require property owners to complete and submit a questionnaire by mail.

Inspectors placed a premium on adding to the tax rolls those renovation improvements that were made without pulling permits. They examined sales of properties matched up against field cards and other information such as navigation fly over views to bring those escaped revenues on line.

A process is in place to challenge assessments, starting with Municipal Valuation Services. Informal hearings are underway for 235 parcels: 135 residential, 100 commercial. The grand list of taxable property will be set January 31.

After that appeals can be made before the Board of Assessment Appeals.

Property owners, according to Finance Director Ken Flatto, can expect to see a drop in the mil rate from the current 54 to the mid 40s, a reflection of “enhancing the value of homes and commercial properties in our city.”

The new mil rate will be established during the budget process. In April Mayor Joe Ganim will submit his spending plan for the year commencing July 1, 2021. It will undergo a review by the budget committee including public hearings. The final mil rate will be set by the council in June.

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  1. With the end of Trump’s single term dragging on, one can see some differences between an elected leader who misrepresents and lies to your face or by twitter (formerly) and one who mostly has let others lead his misdirected and weak administration.

    What Local Eyes is taking away from the moment is that Ganim2 has been more secret, elusive, and unavailable for public comment this year, than previously, and in a year with so many folks sick, fearful of becoming ill, or operating away from work on a lesser schedule with even less opportunity for public scrutiny or oversight, we have no real hope of securing “good news” about City Hall, or do you know more? Time will tell.

  2. JML,
    Trump’s presidency isn’t dragging on until Jan. 21. You know that. Encouraging a coup, however, might tarnish his term.
    Those who depend on securing “good news” from City Hall are often disappointed — don’t join that crowd.
    Due to the pandemic, we’ve all been more elusive, reclusive and unavailable. In Ganim’s defense, he’s used technology frequently, always to keep himself close to residents. At the peak, he was a media kingpin along with Gov. Cuomo and Dr. Faucci and the irreplaceable JML.


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