The difficulty of renting retail space in the post-Amazon marketplace is likely to be one of the factors that will play out in the revaluation of all town commercial and residential properties Oct. 1, according to the chairman of the town’s Board of Finance.
“The retail sector is kind of hurting, so retail properties with vacancies will have a lower valuation. We’ve said that (in meetings),” Board of Finance Chair Jeffrey Rutishauser told The Bulletin last Thursday.
As for the valuation of office buildings and homes, though, “it’s too soon to tell,” Rutishauser said.
The revaluation of real estate properties in town used to be done once every 10 years. However, that changed in recent times to once every five years. The time of year that revaluations are made, by law, is Oct. 1. That is when the measure of value is taken for retail space, commercial footage and residential properties. Personal property like cars is not included, because that is done yearly with the annual tax bill.
The property revaluations are part of what drives the town’s mill rate. If property values rise, the town stabilizes the taxes by reducing the mill rate proportionately. If property values drop, the town raises the mill rate accordingly.
Which way it is going to go this year is anybody’s guess, Rutishauser said.
“I would be speculating if I said so,” he said.
Housing prices in Wilton have not risen appreciably since the recession of 2008 and 2009. The market has been somewhat mediocre.
In any event, all property owners will be contacted by mail with their proposed new assessment, said David Lisowski, the town’s assessor.
“If we’re on schedule everyone should be contacted by mid-December,” he said. “I would be finalizing a Grand List with the town clerk by the end of January of 2018, and then we go into the normal annual period where any property owner can appeal their assessment before the Board of Assessment Appeals. That typically takes us into March and into April possibly.”
The firm performing the assessments is Vision Government Solutions.
Some of the things it checks for is square footage of living space and number of bedrooms. There could be a visual inspection, including a home visit.
Home and business owners have been receiving revaluation survey forms in the mail all summer.