Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Grand Lists Not So Grand in Cheshire, Wallingford

The latest indicator that the New Haven area hasn’t quite shaken the affects of the current recession arrived Monday in the form of the release of municipal Grand Lists in Cheshire and Wallingford.

Wallingford’s grand list provided the most sobering news: For the first time since Mayor William Dickinson Jr. took office 25 years ago, the town’s overall list of taxable property went down. The assessed value of all property in town, which was essentially unchanged last year, fell decisively in 2010, dropping by $130.65 million or 3.04 percent to $4.17 billion.

“It’s going really force us to make some hard decisions about what services are essential,” Dickinson said. “We have to adjust to changing times.”

Wallingford went through a state-mandated property revaluation last year and the decline in the Grand List reflected that.

“If there hadn’t been a revaluation, the Grand List would have gone up slightly,” said Shelby Jackson, the town’s assessor.

Cheshire’s Grand List rose by roughly a half a percentage point or $14.66 million to $2.84 billion, Town Manager Michael Milone said. That will generate another $384,750 in revenue for the town at the current mill rate of 26.50 and the current tax collection rate of 99 percent.

“It’s not a lot, but at least it will mean a little extra revenue,” Milone said. “We know a lot of communities in the state weren’t fortunate enough to see any gain at all.”

Grand Lists offer municipalities snapshots of the assessed value of taxable property as of Oct. 1 of every year. The lists are made up of three components - real estate, motor vehicles and personal property, which refers business equipment.

Wallingford saw growth of 7.83 percent or $24.06 million in personal property and 4.4 percent or $12.96 million in motor vehicles. But real estate which is largest factor in calculating a municipal grand list, decreased by 4.55 percent or $168.23 million in assessed value.

The assessed value of Cheshire’s real estate grew by $10.01 million or a little less than a half a percentage point while the value of motor vehicles in town increase by 4.31 percent or $8.55 million. But personal property decreased by $3.90 million or 3.66 percent, Milone said.

“That was the real wild card when we attempted to predict where the Grand List might come in,” he said. “Nobody is buying any new equipment.”


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