Originally projected to be arriving in residential mailboxes before New Year’s, revaluation notices from the Town of Wilton were just mailed at the beginning of this week. That means taxpayers should begin receiving notices by the end of this week, says assessor Sarah Scacco. But the information has already been updated online and residents can also view the updates in the assessor’s office.

According to the appraisal information available for the town, the real estate valuations “reflect the market value as of Oct. 1, 2017 but will be effective for the Oct. 1, 2018 Grand List year. The assessed value represents 70% of market value. The information is preliminary and will not be finalized until the informal hearing process is completed and the Oct. 1, 2018 Grand List has been signed.”

Residents can also begin signing up online for informal hearings with valuation consultants from Vision Appraisal Services. Hearings begin on Monday, Jan. 7 and run through Friday, Jan. 25. Those will be scheduled and held at Comstock Community Center. The deadline to schedule an informal hearing is Jan. 16, 2019. 

(Town officials have said the sign-up link will appear on the Assessor’s webpage, but we didn’t find it there–as of press time it still says, ‘Coming Soon.’ We DID spot it on the Vision Appraisal database front page. Instructions for how to schedule an informal hearing also will be included in the notices residents receive. Appointments can be scheduled online or by a phone number that will be provided.)

Information provided on the database front page is very clear.

“Informal hearings are an important part of the revaluation process. They provide the best opportunity for property owners to have any issues reviewed and addressed prior to the grand list being signed. To schedule an appointment please go to: www.vgsi.com/schedules and follow the instructions. You will need the Parcel ID number (PID#) in order to book your appointment. If you are unsure of the Parcel ID number you can find it either on your field card or on the notice of assessment change you received in the mail. If you have more than two parcels you wish to discuss, please do not schedule online, instead call the number below.

“If you do not have access to a computer, you may call Vision Government Solutions toll free at 888.844.4300 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday-Friday excluding public holidays. Please do not call the Assessor’s Office to schedule appointments.”

The Oct. 1, 2018 Grand List will be ‘finalized’ by Feb. 28, 2019. Board of Assessment appeal hearings will be held in April 2019. Applications to appeal can be filed only between March 1-20, 2019–no earlier and no later.

Importance of Informal Hearings

In a December presentation to the Board of Selectmen, Scacco said she “stressed how important informal hearings are,” as her office’s way to get feedback from the community.

“We still have the ability to make changes. Anything we discover through informal hearings, we can easily make those changes before the grand list gets signed. Otherwise our hands are tied and we have to go through the appeal process,” she said, adding that she encouraged taxpayers to get involved in that process.

Scacco repeated her encouragement, urging taxpayers to consider scheduling informal hearings, both to get a better understanding of their new valuation and to get engaged in the process.

Part of that does require a little homework to gather information before going into the meeting with Vision Appraisal, including researching the market value of similar properties. Scacco said that taxpayers should compare their new valuations with those of similar properties in the surrounding areas–reminding residents that the amounts which they need to use for comparison are from sales that occurred between Oct. 1, 2016 to Oct. 1, 2017.

Residents can get that sales comparison data on the Vision Appraisal website, by clicking on the ‘Sales Search’ tab to filter by dates of sales and price range.