Guilford mails out revaluation notices

By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff
Dec. 4, 2007

GUILFORD — Revaluation notices are arriving in property owners’ mailboxes as part of the every-five-years process to adjust property values for tax purposes.

Jennifer Bernardo, assistant to the town assessor, said the process seems to be running smoothly so far, and most people have already received their notices.

There was one error on the notices that the private company conducting the revaluation, Total Valuation, corrected with a second postcard to homeowners: The phone number to contact the company should start with a 1-866 exchange, not 1-800 as listed on the notice.

The assessor’s office is asking people with questions about their revaluation notices to call Total Valuation, not the town office.

The goal of the revaluation is to “bring equity to the town … so that everyone’s paying their fair share,” Bernardo said.

The revaluation notice includes an estimated fair market value for the property, and the town’s tax assessment of the property is 70 percent of the fair market value. Town officials will start their annual budget process in January, and should set tax rates by May.

Bernardo said she does not think the current housing slump — which is affecting properties across the state and country — should have an impact on the revaluation.

“When you’re saying a housing slump, you’re just more or less talking about the lack of sales — the values are still up there,” she said. “Our job is just to establish a fair market value for the properties.”

Bill Gaffney, president of Waterbury-based Total Valuation, said the company mainly used sales values from 2007 in determing fair market value for properties in Guilford. The revaluation included about 7,800 residences, 447 commercial and industrial properties, and 650 condos, he said.

Total Valuation has already begun holding hearings for people with concerns about their valuation figures. The hearings will go on for three weeks, Gaffney said. He added that appointment times for hearings for waterfront properties filled up quickly, but more spots have been added.

“Mainly, people are concerned about what’s going to happen to their taxes,” he said. “That we really have no control over — it’s just the value of the property (that we determine).”

Anyone who thinks their revaluation notice is not an accurate reflection of fair market value should first contact Total Valuation for a hearing, according to the assessor’s office. If the property owner is still not satisfied with the figure, he or she has until Feb. 20 to appeal to the Board of Assessment Appeals. The documents for that process will be available on the town’s Web site and in the assessor’s office starting in January, Bernardo said.

Residents with more questions about their revaluation notices can visit the town of Guilford’s Web site at and click on the link titled “Revaluation Information.”

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