Stamford Advocate

Martin to state: City should be allowed to delay revaluatio­n

Mayor calls on lawmakers to give cities option

- By Brianna Gurciullo

STAMFORD — Mayor David Martin is asking the state legislatur­e to allow Stamford and other municipali­ties to be allowed to delay their mandatory property revaluatio­ns for a year, citing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on property values.

State law requires cities and towns to complete a revaluatio­n of commercial and residentia­l properties every five years. Stamford and dozens of other municipali­ties in Connecticu­t are up for revaluatio­n in 2022.

Stamford’s Oct. 1, 2022, grand list — a list of all of its taxable property — is supposed to be based on updated property values. Those values will be used to calculate property taxes starting in 2023.

Because of the pandemic, “single-family residentia­l and apartment markets across Fairfield County are substantia­lly higher in value, while other property types, such as commercial

retail, are depressed and weakened,” a release from Martin’s office noted. That disparity could lead to a 10 to 15 percent increase in residentia­l property taxes in summer 2023, according to the release.

“I am concerned that our residentia­l neighborho­ods will be impacted with much higher property taxes because of a short-term increase in home prices,” Martin said in a statement Friday. “I believe by holding off the re-assessment for one year, we will see a leveling off of price fluctuatio­ns in the market and get a more accurate and fair assessment of property values until the next fiveyear re-assessment cycle.”

Stamford’s 2022 revaluatio­n includes physical inspection­s of properties; that process is already underway. Under a contract costing about $900,000, employees of Municipal Valuations Services are knocking on doors and inspecting properties across the city.

Physical inspection­s were last performed as part of Stamford’s 2012 revaluatio­n. The city’s 2017 revaluatio­n was only statistica­l.

“There are two types of revaluatio­ns: full-physical and statistica­l,” explained Greg Stackpole, Stamford’s tax assessor. “The difference between the two is a full-physical requires a visit to the real estate parcel to insure informatio­n on record is accurate before a fair market valuation is determined. Both types require a full analysis of market conditions for all property types, including sales, leases, income and expense data from commercial

property owners; this is the statistica­l component to any revaluatio­n.”

Martin wants the city to be able to postpone the statistica­l part, which is expected to cost almost $500,000 of the total, he said.

“We would like the state to authorize this local reassessme­nt postponeme­nt option as soon as possible so that Stamford can make responsibl­e and cost-saving decisions in a timely manner,” Martin said. “Delay in action from the state may result in Stamford wasting hundreds of thousands on a re-assessment that could be canceled in the next year.”

However, Martin noted that if the state legislatur­e lets municipali­ties delay their revaluatio­ns, whether Stamford actually does so will be up to the next Board of Representa­tives and his successor: either state Rep. Caroline Simmons, who defeated him in the Democratic primary, or unaffiliat­ed candidate Bobby Valentine. Municipal elections are scheduled for Nov. 2.

Both Simmons and Valentine said they would support a delay.

“As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, I believe it is critical to postpone the upcoming property revaluatio­n,” Simmons said in a statement posted to Facebook. “It would be unfair for residents who are already struggling during this difficult time to see a huge property tax spike based off of an inflated housing market.”

“We applaud the Martin administra­tion’s effort to delay the property revaluatio­n,” Valentine said in a statement. “We’ve been advocating for this since May, as residentia­l homeowners already bear most of the burden for city expenses.”

As of Monday, Martin said he was in the process of writing a letter to the state legislatur­e — which is currently not in regular session — asking for the delay. The legislatur­e’s next regular session is set to begin in February and end in May.

 ?? ?? Tyler Sizemore / Hearst Conn. Media Mayor David Martin
Tyler Sizemore / Hearst Conn. Media Mayor David Martin

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