City Reports Modest Increase In Taxable Property

333 State Street
Residential apartments at 333 State Street Downtown assist city's tax base.

Completion of the Downtown rental complex 333 State Street as well as activity along Main Street and Park Avenue development corridors has led to a modest increase in the city’s grand list of taxable property, according to Mayor Bill Finch. Overall the mayor says Bridgeport’s 2012 grand list grew by $62,948,426 or a 0.9 percent increase to a total Net Grand List of $7,052,118,795.

News of the city’s grand list comes as the mayor and city bean counters develop budget scenarios for submission to the City Council the first week of April. Governor Dan Malloy’s budget proposal to the state legislature is causing Finch trepidation. The mayor is urging the legislature to restore funding cuts to the state’s largest city proposed by Malloy.

Changes in the city’s grand list, according to a news release issued by the mayor, are as follows: net motor vehicles increased by 1.7 percent, or $6.9 million; net personal property increased by 0.95 percent, or $61 million; and net real property decreased by .084 percent or $4.9 million.

“The growth and stability in our Grand List validates our efforts in economic development and proves that Bridgeport is more than holding its own in this uncertain economy. The completion of 333 State Street, and forward momentum in Downtown North, and along our development corridors on Park Avenue and Main Street, show we are moving in the right direction,” said Mayor Finch.

The overall gross grand list, prior to deduction of all exemptions and exempt property, increased by $53,484,330 million, according to the city. Exempt real estate now comprises $3,203,551,376 billion, an increase of 1.7 percent over 2011.

“Bridgeport posted a very good year, despite losing income from the demolition of some high-profile buildings in the past year such as the GE building on Boston Avenue. To counter that, we have new businesses opening in the city, which have helped increase our personal property assessments,” according to Acting Tax Assessor Elaine Carvalho.

The mayor wants to build a new high school on the property owned by General Electric to replace the antiquated Harding High. An agreement between the city and GE is pending approval by the City Council.

The grand list, per state law, reflects a 70 percent assessment ratio.

The Top Ten Taxpayers – Real Estate/Personal Property Combined for 2012 are as follows:

CRRA/US Bank National Association/James E. Mogavera, 282,453,910

United Illuminating, 250,513,997

PSEG Power Connecticut LLC, 122,080,687

Connecticut Light & Power, 54,578,739

People’s United Bank, 54,552,501

Bridgeport Energy LLC, 46,250,000

Wheelabrator, 40,752,160

Southern Connecticut Gas Utility Holding, 37,490,610

Watermark 3030 Park LLC, 30,395,010

Success Village Apts, Inc., 24,269,140



  1. *** Modest tax increases that come from positive urban renewal is a step in the right direction but increases for the sake of mere lack of overall revenue on property that has not been improved on in many years is government fraud. *** City ReValue Blues ***

    1. Mojo and others:
      You don’t understand. The city doesn’t get more money when the Grand List goes up. Neither do they get less money when the Grand List goes down. The city budget is what they get.

      Revaluation only introduces a measure of equitability (I refuse to say “fairness”). If everyone’s property goes down in value the same amount, then the mil rate goes up and your taxes stay exactly the same, because the city budget didn’t change and your share of that budget didn’t change. The only time there’s a difference in what people pay due to revaluation is if one property goes down more than another, then the person whose property went down more pays a little less and the person whose property went down less pays a little more. Revaluation only decides your share compared to someone else’s.

      1. *** I do understand, Mayor Ganim did not do city property revalue for almost 12 years and taxes remained the same. The last revalues done a few years after Ganim was gone all have been increased value appraisals not only to catch up, but have continued upward on properties that have declined, not improved. (example) My home, revalue appraisal at $175,000, yet my home and the homes in my neighborhood if put up for sale are appraised at $160,000 overall. Last revalue done, property assessments went up; following fiscal year the mil rate also went up! And will continue to go up due to needed city revenue. The old “revalue goes up,” “mil rate goes down” way of doing things is history in Bpt. *** Watch what happens after the coming fiscal year! ***

        1. Taxes remained the same because the budget remained the same. When the budget goes up, taxes go up. It has nothing to do with the valuation of the properties. The assessed valuation only decides what your share of the budget is. If you want taxes to go down, you have to get the budget to go down. If you want your taxes to go down but the budget stays the same, someone else’s taxes have to go up.

          And if everyone’s property that can sell for $160K is assessed at $175K, then everyone is feeling an equitable share of the pain. It only becomes an actionable issue if your neighbor’s house is the same as yours, but their assessment is lower. Revaluation is supposed to assess everyone with the same house the same, and get rid of inequities like people getting assessed differently for the same value property.

          1. *** Booty, year after year when does the budget ever stay the same or go down? And on my street, some of the houses assessed are far from being worth anywhere near the $175,000 mine was re-valued at or the general property assessment of $160,000. In other words the revalue assessments seem to be grouping properties all together in neighborhoods regardless of their individual worth. And let’s not forget it’s only a 75% assessment of their true value, no? ***

          2. If the budget goes up, taxes go up to pay for it. You’re right, budgets (and therefore taxes) rarely go down.

            Assessments are not market values, but are related to them. If you can find someone’s house with the same market value as yours, but assessed less than yours, you can file for an abatement. The more houses you can find with the same market value as yours that are assessed less than yours, the stronger your case. If you think your entire neighborhood is assessed more than other neighborhoods with the same market value and can prove it with market data, and you are not granted an abatement, you can take them to court. But again, an assessment is not a market value. If everyone with the same market value house has the same assessment (no matter how different that assessment may be from the market value), you have no case for an abatement.

            And revaluations don’t matter. The total amount of everyone’s taxes is not going to change as the result of a revaluation. The revaluation is supposed to only serve to make the assessments more accurate, to ensure houses with the same market value have the same assessment.

  2. I am not an assessor but I am curious about the $61 Million increase in net personal property which category identifies property owned by businesses and taxed to them, I believe. It was the largest gain category disclosed. How did it occur? It is important because a few small business owners I know have been fighting the City for years over what seem excessive and unfounded in the real world assessments on this type of property (and the tax is not paid) but from the grandstand it looks like the Net Grand List is increasing. I can’t confirm or deny, but someone can.

    The Top Ten Taxpayers – Real Estate/Personal Property Combined for 2012 are as follows:

                      2012         FY2012
    CRRA/US Bank National Association
      /James E. Mogavera,
                      282,453,910* 320,948,352*
    United Illuminating,
                      250,513,997  211,997,036**
    PSEG Power Connecticut LLC,
                      122,080,687  152,689,120
    Connecticut Light & Power,
                      54,578,739   55,423,829
    People’s United Bank,
                      54,552,501   59,729,464
    Bridgeport Energy LLC,
                      46,250,000   36,166,277**
    Wheelabrator,     40,752,160
      (Listed last year as part of # 1-Separated
      this year-why?)
    Southern Connecticut Gas Utility Holding,
                      37,490,610   34,364,683
    Watermark 3030 Park LLC,
                      30,395,010   30,809,473
    Success Village Apts, Inc.,
                      24,269,140   24,276,970
      NB: What happened to # 9 AT&T Mobility LLC
      in CAFR-2012 $29,750,520** 
               TOTAL: 942,332,000  956,155,724

    *What would a narrative indicating why Wheelabrator account is split tell us? They have been engaged in a lengthy legal action against the City contesting their assessed values since the middle of 2007. (Are any of the other top 10 taxpayers raising actions against the City currently?
    **Why significant decrease in UI, Bridgeport Energy, and AT&T Mobility values?
    Do both columns include real and personal property values for the organizations identified? What date in 2012 did the values come from as the FY2012 values are presumably from 6-30-12 the last date of the Fiscal year. These are on Page 88 of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Review 2012 and the source identified is the City of Bridgeport – Assessor’s Office. Why do large taxpayers seem to lessen their assessed values subject to our Mil Rate?

    I have taken the above list and compared it to a very similar list shown on Page 88 of the released CAFR – 2012 with supposed June 30, 2012 values. I ask some further questions on that sheet. The differences in values within one year in certain cases gets a person to ask questions. Any answers out there? Time will tell.

  3. Lennie,
    Perhaps the chart can get printed by itself so people can read the disparities I point to. If all of these are 2012 figures, what is going on with the changes, especially those that show decreasing assessments? Hope you can re-post. I sent it last night as an attachment. Time will tell.

  4. *** Booty, to get an abatement with the city of Bpt you must spend money for at least a minimum of two official real estate appraisals both showing the difference between what the city re-value price is and the current real estate market value on your home, along with pictures. I don’t know if there’s an application fee as well! And still they make you jump through hoops once you’ve proved them wrong! The entire process is wack and made to cheat homeowners out of money period because the budget never goes down or stays the same. Also what’s up with all the non-profit property assessments and who pays those taxes at least once every time a 75% revalue is done? The state should pick it up every time revalue is done and the tenant the remainder of the time at least 50%. Enough of the non-profit free ride B/S! ***

  5. Is the total Grand List value based on the 2008 assessment cycle? If so, it’s BS. Property values have declined since 10/08 in part because of a failure to engage in a serious effort to reign-in spending and right-size City government. Don’t let the politicians fool you, if the dollar amount of you tax bill goes up it’s a tax increase no matter what the reason is. City taxes went up by a double digit percentage amount when the 10/08 reassessment occurred and went up again last year when the mil rate was increased. Enough is enough, No More property tax increases! It’s time to get to work putting the City’s governance system and finances in order.

  6. The proper way to assess the reasonableness and competitiveness of property taxes is by calculating the amount of the total tax as a percentage of the full fair market value of the property. On that basis, Bridgeport is outrageous! Any increase in that percentage serves to reduce property values and discourage economic development. It can also result in taxing people out of their homes, especially retirees on fixed incomes.


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