Colchester appealed the common level of appraisal (CLA) in Montpelier last week, the results of which assessor Bob Vickery said could lower the tax rate slightly.
Vickery said that during the state’s property valuation review, the district advisers used outdated values for the commercial apartment complex category in the town’s grand list. He said his office had reassessed the town’s 38 commercial apartment complexes for 2018’s grand list and come up with updated numbers the state should have used, instead of values calculated at the time of sale.
“If they use the older, outdated values in their study, the grand list tends to be too high and thus your common level of appraisal (CLA) ends up being a lot lower and your tax rate ends up being a lot higher,” Vickery explained.
He said while the state has yet to send over the new numbers, the town can expect about a half percent to one percent increase to the CLA, which was at 91.26 percent. This would amount to about $200,000 to $250,000 in collective savings for taxpayers, and a decrease to the tax rate of about a half to one cent.
“It’s not a lot, but every little bit counts,” Vickery said.
The CLA adjusts the tax rate to account for differences between the sale value of properties and the assessed value. When properties are selling at more than their assessed value, applying the CLA to the tax rate will raise it. When properties in a town are selling for less than the assessed value, applying the CLA will lower tax rate.
Vickery said while the town always has several adjustments to make to the grand list, this was the first hearing he had to attend since 2010. He said the chief district adviser in the tax department would usually settle small adjustments and changes to the grand list outside of a hearing.
However, the previous chief district adviser normally in charge of making those decisions recently retired, and the new advisers taking over weren’t sure of the correct course of action, Vickery said. The hearing officer agreed with Vickery last week, and is coming up with the correct numbers within the next week, he said.
“It’s getting it correct, having a correct reflection of the 2018 grand list and our tax rate, that’s our goal,” Vickery said.