SOUTHINGTON — The growth in car values and continued home improvements helped increase the town’s list of taxable property by 3.38 percent.
That will mean $4.4 million in new tax revenue at the current tax rate for the upcoming fiscal year.
The town’s tax list, called the grand list, totals the value of real estate, vehicles and personal property owned in Southington. That total helps town leaders set the tax rate.
Town Manager Mark Sciota said Southington is a place where people and businesses want to establish themselves.
“An increase in the grand list during these very difficult times does not happen by accident,” Sciota said. “It takes a lot of teamwork over many years.”
The grand list includes three categories – real estate, personal property and motor vehicles. Real estate, the largest of the categories, grew the least at 0.9 percent.
Explaining the recent changes in taxable property, assessment director Teresa Babon cited the multi-year trend of sparse industrial and commercial construction.
“The increase in the real estate grand list this year is due primarily to residential development,” Babon said. “ln what appears to be a response to the COVID pandemic, we have noticed a marked increase in pools, patios, decks and hot tubs being installed. Finished basements have also appeared to be a popular home improvement project during the past 18 months.”
Those home improvements increase the taxable value of a house, she said.
Personal property, which includes company-owned equipment, grew by 4.33 percent. Babon said that increase was driven by investments made by Eversource, Lake Compounce, GoNetSpeed – which is expanding fiber optic internet access in town, HQ Dumpsters & Recycling and Longhorn’s Steakhouse on West Street.
Motor vehicle value increased by 25 percent, reflecting rising car prices.
“The number of vehicles on the grand list went up by 1.6 percent and used vehicle values actually appreciated,” Babon said.
The trend was seen in other municipalities which had similar motor vehicle value increases.
The town’s tax rate, known as the mill rate, is the number of dollars in taxes collected on every $1,000 of assessed property value. At the current tax rate, the increased value of property in town would result in more than $4.4 million in additional town revenue.
That can help offset municipal cost increases elsewhere without raising tax rates, although individuals may be paying more taxes as the value of their homes and vehicles rises.
Victoria Triano, Town Council chairwoman and a Republican, said town leaders are close to creating a budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
“It actually is going to help very much,” she said of the grand list growth. “As we’re coming out of COVID, we still have COVID expenses.”
Rising values means that Southington is an attractive place to live and open a business, Triano said.
“I think people are just wanting to be in Southington,” she said. “It’s a wonderful thing when people have confidence in the town, in our whole municipality.”
Chris Palmieri, Town Council member and a Democrat, said the grand list growth was “extremely beneficial” to the town’s residents. He saw it as the result of years of hard work on the part of town leaders.
“We are fortunate to have strong support from our community,” he said, “and that is one of the reasons Southington is so desirable to others.”
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