After the inspection and valuation of over 20,000 properties, the Town of Fairfield will soon enter the final informal and formal hearing phases of its two year revaluation process. Both the Assessor's Office and Vision Government Solutions Inc., the Town’s revaluation contractor, would like to thank property owners for their patience and cooperation throughout the 2015 Revaluation. During the revaluation, the Assessor’s Office and Vision Government Solutions Inc. looked at Fairfield as nineteen distinct neighborhood areas and studied market values, real estate transactions, building permits, and other data to determine the value of every property as of October 1, 2015. Town and Vision personnel entered neighborhoods and inspected individual properties to identify their characteristics and conducted field reviews prior to arriving at final valuations.
By State law, the purpose of a revaluation is to bring the overall level of assessment for all property classes to the required 70% ratio of a property’s market value as of October 1 of the revaluation year. To accomplish this, the revaluation company analyzes the qualified market sales from October 1, 2014 to October 1, 2015. If additional sales are needed they go back another 12 months to October of 2013. The goal of a revaluation is to maintain assessment equity and uniformity within and among all property classes.
Based on the results of the revaluation, approximately 10% of residential property assessments will not significantly change from 2010 levels, 50% will decrease, and 40% will increase. Decreased property assessments result from factors including but not limited to declining market values in certain neighborhoods since 2010 and significant data changes picked up on a property during the revaluation process. Increased property assessments result from factors including but not limited to increased market values in certain neighborhoods, significant new construction, and additional new data picked up on a property during the revaluation process.
Total residential property assessments declined approximately 2% from 2010 levels. Total commercial/industrial property assessments did not significantly change, as Fairfield’s commercial/industrial property occupancy rates have remained relatively stable since 2010.
The final 2014 real estate grand list based on 70% of October 1, 2010 market value is $10,233,001,023. As of November 5, 2015, the real estate grand list based on 70% of October 1, 2015 market value is $10,037,441,420, representing an approximate overall 1.9% decline Town-wide.
It should be noted that the 2015 grand list has not been finalized because the revaluation process includes informal and formal appeal periods for property owners. Additionally, the motor vehicle and personal property components of the 2015 grand list are not yet complete. The final grand list will be released in early 2016.
Property owners will receive a notice of their new October 1, 2015 assessment on or about November 14 to November 18, 2015. Property data and assessment information for the October 1, 2015 revaluation will be available online at http://gis.vgsi.com/FairfieldCT/. Anyone who does not feel their new assessment value represents 70% of fair market value as of October 1, 2015 will have an opportunity for an informal hearing to discuss their property’s market value with Vision Government Solutions Inc.
The informal hearings will take place at the Bigelow Center for Senior Activities (formerly the Fairfield Senior Center), 100 Mona Terrace, by appointment only from November 18 through December 18, 2015.
To schedule an appointment for an informal hearing, taxpayers should go to: www.vgsi.com/schedules and follow the instructions. Please do not call the Assessor’s Office to schedule appointments or discuss new assessments. If you do not have access to a computer or have more than two parcels you wish to discuss, you may call Vision Government Solutions Inc. at 1-888-844-4300 between the hours of 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM Monday-Friday (excluding the Thanksgiving holiday on November 26 and November 27). The results of the informal hearings are scheduled to be mailed in early January 2016.
Owners who are not in agreement with the results of their informal appeal hearing may formally appeal their assessment at the Board of Assessment Appeals hearings to be scheduled in March 2016. Appeals to the Board of Assessment Appeals must be physically received in the Town Assessor’s Office by February 19, 2016.
Property owners should not apply the current tax (mill) rate to new assessments, as doing so will result in an inaccurate tax calculation. The new mill rate will be determined after the Town budget process is completed in the spring of 2016.