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Latest Assessment ‘Based On 100-Year Anomaly’



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To the Editor:

In 1986, my husband and I purchased a small Newtown antique house purposely well within our financial means. When later encircled by a high-income subdivision, our taxes erroneously soared. Town assessors fair adjustments following home comparisons. Despite illness and variable income, we adeptly raised two sons here. Now 73 and 80, we live on social security except for a pre-established fund for expected larger outlays including property taxes.

Inquisitive, last year we had a realtor appraise our house because of COVID’s “out-of-towner-rush” anomaly. The appraisal, although less than contemporary homes, was absurdly inflated and has already declined.

In December we received our house assessment. Newtown didn’t delay assessment for a year as legislation allowed.

1. For some reason, our assessment was much greater than the cross-the-board 42-45 percent increase — itself, a disturbing number.

2. Our assessment was higher than a similar nearby antique home with more square footage, barn and loft, in-ground pool, and nearly three more acres.

3. Our appraisal was $50,000 beyond the highest price the realtor said was seemingly possible even with the “rush.”

4. Our appeal brought a negligible reduction. The assessment is still way out of line compared to previous years. The appraisal is much higher than what we can possibly receive for our house.

Supposedly, the mill rate will remain down until the next assessment in four years. I won’t hold my breath. And, this increase makes our hopeful senior tax deduction much less supportive.

Yes, increased taxes are inevitable. We knew that four decades ago. That’s why we have lived as economically as possible: living here as long as medically able. But, we planned for regular fair and equitable tax increases, not those wrongly based on a 100-year anomaly.

Sharon L. Cohen


Comments are open. Be civil.
  1. qstorm says:

    Will any of us being gouged by this assessment still be here in 5 years when this might be corrected?

  2. dennis brestovansky says:

    I hope that concerned folks will focus on the budget that we vote to approve each year. It is the primary determinant of the taxes we pay. Assessments are, in a way, the distribution or redistribution of that tax burden across taxpayers based on the value of their homes. Even if there were no revaluation taking place, we would be paying more tax because we voted for an increased budget. The only other offset would be a meaningful increase in businesses or new homes providing additional tax revenues. As I understand it, the mil rate will adjust based on valuations (grand list) to provide the budget we vote for. Taxes will go up until we spend less or get more revenue from new sources.

  3. qstorm says:

    The issue is not that our taxes will go up. The issue is that the assessment came at a time when the pandemic brought folks to Newtown in a frenzy to buy small houses (like mine <2000 sq ft). 13 houses on my street with long time residents sold in less than 2 days each with most getting more than asking. And these 'comps' were used for my assessment (42% increase). Now that the market has stalled, housing prices have dropped dramatically. We will pay increased taxes for the next 5 years until the next assessment corrects this anomaly. And wait for the car tax! Not to mention the 'R' word.

    1. dennis brestovansky says:

      You say the issue is not that our taxes will go up, but that we will pay increased taxes for 5 years? We won’t be taxed for more than the budget on which we vote. The mil rate will adjust.

      1. qstorm says:

        You misunderstand. Anyone whose assessment went up 42% (like me) will pay more in taxes on houses that were impacted by the pandemic buying frenzy. The mill rate does not adjust for that increase. As my ‘piece’ of the grand list is now larger I will pay more for the next 5 years until a new assessment adjusts my house value down to an appropriate level. I’m estimating a $700 tax increase vs the $100 increase I got last year. If we pass a $0 increase on the budget I will still see a $700 increase due to the assessment based on the estimated mill rate of 25.8.

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