Stonington taxpayer grand list drops nearly 19 percent

Stonington - The town's 2012 grand list has declined 18.6 percent or more than a half-billion dollars with the recently completed revaluation.

The grand list, which is the sum of taxable property in town, had totaled $3.18 billion in 2011 but that number has now declined to $2.59 billion, a decrease of more than $593 million. The decrease was expected because of the decline in real estate values over the past five years, when the last revaluation was conducted.

The town's top taxpayer,
LCS-Westminster Partnership (Stone Ridge), saw its assessed value plummet from $45.4 million in 2011 to $29.3 million in 2012.

The town appraises properties based on sales of comparable properties and then assesses them at 70 percent of their fair market value as of October 2012. That assessment is what property owners are taxed on once the town approves an annual budget.

Property owners cannot take their new assessment and multiply it by the existing tax rate to figure out their new tax bill because that calculation would produce an incorrect, much smaller tax bill.

This is because with the decrease in the value of properties, the town will need to increase its tax rate so it can raise the needed tax revenue to fund the budget. The Board of Finance also has to adopt a proposed 2013-14 budget that voters must approve.

Tax Assessor Marsha Standish said that property owners who questioned their original assessments will receive notices this week of any revisions. If they are still dissatisfied, they can then appeal their assessment to the Board of Assessment Appeals. Assessments are also available by going to the Assessor's Department page at www.stonington-ct.gov .

The rest of the town's top 10 taxpayers are Connecticut Light & Power, $28.7 million; Aquarion Water Co., $14.3 million; Davis Standard LLC, $13.8 million; Whitehall Mansions Partners LLC (Residence Inn), $11.5 million; Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, $10.5 million; Mall Inc. (Olde Mistick Village) $9.7 million; RJH II-HH Mystic LLC (Mystic Hilton), $9.6 million; SMV Mystic LLC (Pendleton), $7.6 million and Yankee Gas Services, $6.9 million.

- Joe Wojtas

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