With the Board of Selectmen (BOS) now deep in the throes of FY2024 budget planning, questions about Wilton’s Grand List — the total value of taxable property in the Town — are coming to the forefront.
Selectwoman Kim Healy recently raised the topic of the Grand List in a series of written questions that she and her fellow selectmen submitted to First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice as they seek to understand the FY’24 budget Vanderslice initially proposed.
GOOD Morning Wilton has reviewed the Q&A, which the BOS plans to further discuss at its next meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 21.
An Open Question
Healy asked if there was “any analysis of the expected grand list growth over the next 3-5 years.”
Vanderslice responded that any such analysis would be “guesswork” before the Oct. 1, 2023 revaluation process.
“Residential homes and condos [will] be revalued with consideration of sales for the 18 months prior to Oct. 1, 2023 (March 1, 2022, to Sept. 30, 2023). We know overall home values are up, but as we saw in the  revaluation, not all price points may have changed at the same rate,” Vanderslice wrote. (She further explained that the 2017 revaluation reflected decreases at the high end of the residential market and increases in value for properties at lower price points.)
Vanderslice expects apartment building valuations, which take leasing income into account, to increase, given the strong rental market. However, commercial office buildings are expected to significantly decrease in valuation.
“Commercial office building values are down and that segment of the grand list is expected to continue to be down,” she wrote. “Recent sales were at approximately 60% of market value.”
She also noted that properties purchased for redevelopment could pose a unique issue.
“If a commercial office building is purchased for redevelopment, the building itself could be torn down as of Oct. 1, 2023, as was the case with 141 Danbury Road, meaning the value for any such property could be less than the Oct. 1, 2022 grand list,” Vanderslice explained.
Car valuations won’t be helping the Grand List, either. Although much of last year’s increase in the Grand List was due to used car values, they won’t be valued the same way going forward.
“The method of valuation of vehicles is changing to depreciated value,” Vanderslice wrote. “That is expected to reduce the vehicle grand list more than the large increase in value experienced last year due to high used car prices.”
The bottom line for homeowners? Vanderslice thinks it’s likely they’ll see an increased tax burden.
“At this point, that revaluation isn’t expected to favorably impact most residential homeowners, as the loss in value in the other aspects of the grand list mean residential homeowners and residential apartment building owners will likely assume a greater share of the tax burden,” Vanderslice wrote.
Vanderslice expects ASML‘s ongoing expansion at 77 Danbury Rd. and improvements at the company’s newly acquired property at 20 Westport Rd. will result in Grand List growth. She also highlighted other potential developments that could impact the Grand List in the future:
“The application for the multi-family project at 12 Godfrey Place is expected to be voted on at the next P&Z meeting. The developer has stated they will file under 8-30g if denied. The WPCA recently denied applications submitted by a developer for 19 Cannon Road. That developer has filed an appeal with the court.”
“Longer-term, multi-family at the Kimco property is still being discussed. Scope and timing unknown. That project will include demolition of an existing taxed building.”
“Representatives for the [School Sisters of Notre Dame] property [on Belden Hill Rd.] have held discussions with neighbors about their plans for redevelopment. Once that property is sold, the developer would be expected to tear down the existing buildings. The timing for that sale is uncertain.”
“Based on confidential conversations, there are other properties in play, the timing of which is uncertain.”