Letter: Average-size houses pay more taxes per square foot

To the Editors:

Your article by Kendra Baker on 7/19 called “Wilton boasts low tax per square foot” is confusing. The formula you report that Mr. Rutishauser used to calculate the tax per square foot has nothing to do with the selling price of the properties. The formula is simply square feet divided into property tax.  We can do that with any house, no need for a sales price.

I checked the math and Mr. Rutishauser is indeed correct.  At a property tax of $18,524 a 4,967 sq. ft. house in Wilton is paying $3.73 per sq ft in taxes per year.  But again, the selling price has nothing to do with the calculations and was simply incidental and distracting information.

But the article made me wonder why Mr. Rutishauser limited his effort to houses of 5,000 sq ft. To get a picture more representative of reality—after all, most of us do not live in 5,000 foot mansions—I took a look at my own, much more average house on one acre.  At 1,820 feet it costs me $10,467 in taxes. Using Mr. Rutishauser’s formula it turns out that I am paying $5.76 per foot—a lot more than my wealthier neighbors who pay, according to your article, $3.73 per foot, and far higher even than rich folks in Fairfield and Westport, where taxes are, according to your article, far higher than in Wilton.

If these findings on my individual house are indicative of life in Wilton then the conclusion is inescapable that average middle-class people living in modest homes here are paying a disproportionately large share of the tax burden than their big-housed, wealthier neighbors.

I am hoping Mr. Rutishauser will step-up and shed some light on this matter and show me how I’ve misunderstood something.
Joe Bruno
Ivy Lane, July 19