Selectmen vote to postpone revaluation for a year

The Board of Selectmen Jan. 8 voted to postpone the implementation of the Oct. 1, 2017 revaluation for one year.

Following the unexpected retirement of the town’s assessor in mid-revaluation, Chief Financial Officer Anne Kelly-Lenz determined there was not enough time for a new assessor to accurately complete the revaluation within the time requirements.

In addition, due to the large number of expected appeals, it was anticipated the Board of Assessment Appeals would not be able to complete its work within the statutory time requirements.

Kelly-Lenz recommended the town postpone  the implementation of the revaluation, as is allowed under state statutes, and First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice and Board of Assessment Appeals Chairman Don Drummond supported her recommendation. The  Board of Selectmen voted accordingly.

According to a press release issued by the first selectwoman’s office, the town will:

  • Request that state Rep. Gail Lavielle submit a bill, in the current year’s legislative session, to delay the implementation of the revaluation until the Oct. 1, 2018 grand list.  Such a request/bill is not unusual, though the timing of when an approval would be received is uncertain.
  • File an application with the Office of Policy and Management secretary for a waiver of penalties for not implementing the revaluation as scheduled. This application can be filed no earlier than 30 days after the Oct. 1, 2017 grand list is filed. The grand list must be filed by Feb. 28, 2018.
  • Request that the OPM secretary approve a one-year postponement of implementation due to the Board of Assessment Appeals’ inability to complete the expected level of appeals within the statutory deadlines. Although this request is normally made once the appeals have been filed, there is sufficient evidence already to expect an unusually high level of appeals, based on the number of inquiries received to date and the great potential for errors if adequate time is not allowed to complete the revaluation steps noted below. Should the secretary approve this request, legislative approval would no longer be necessary, but this request would be completely discretionary with the secretary, and the more traditional route appears to be the legislative approval.

If a one-year extension is granted on the revaluation, the grand list values to be used for FY 2019 property taxes would remain the Oct. 1, 2016 grand list updated for 2017 additions.  Any property owner, who identified errors in their field card as part of the revaluation mailer, can appeal their Oct. 1, 2017 assessment. Requests for appeals are due on March 20, 2018.  Appeal hearings will be held during April 2018.

Revaluation is a complicated process with multiple steps which include the development of an Oct. 1, 2017 grand list before revaluation and a revalued Oct. 1, 2017 grand list. The revaluation processes include:

  • The inspection and valuation of residential property with assistance provided by Vision Governmental Solutions and consultant appraisers. The town assessor is responsible for then reviewing each property valuation to determine agreement with such. This review includes a statistical analysis of the Vision data and the assessor’s adjustments for market values in Wilton. Various areas of the town must be individually analyzed.
  • Valuation of commercial properties.
  • Notification to property owners of their new valuation.
  • Pre-appeal meetings with property owners to review their valuations. Held by Vision Governmental Solutions personnel and the assessor.
  • Filing of a revaluation grand list with the town clerk
  • Filing of requests for appeal hearings by property owners
  • Board of Assessment Appeals conducting such hearings and rendering appeal decisions