April 22, 2018

Essex Finance Board Sets Tax Rate at 18.99 Mills, up 0.52 Mills

ESSEX— The board of finance Thursday set the property tax rate for 2013-2014 at 18.99 mills, an increase of 0.52 mills from the current tax rate. The new rate represents $18.99 in tax for each $1,000 of assessed property value.

The new tax rate funds the total $22,664,150 town/schools spending plan that was approved by voters at the annual budget meeting Monday. The new rate was approved on a unanimous vote, though some members expressed a preference for setting the rate at an even 19 mills. Board member Campbell Hudson, a Democrat, pushed for holding the tax rate below 19 mills.

In setting the new rate, the board made no transfers from the town’s undesignated fund balance, which now totals about $2.62 million, representing more than 13 percent of the town’s total annual operating expenses. Taxes jumped by 0.49 mills last year, when the board set the current tax rate of 18.47 mills.

The town is currently engaged in a full 10-year townwide property revaluation that includes inspections of all residential and commercial properties. In discussing the revaluation at Thursday’s meeting, First Selectman Norman Needleman predicted a 10 percent or greater drop in the grand list of taxable property when the revaluation becomes effective next year. The lower grand list, which would reflect the decline in property values since the start of the Great Recession in 2008, is expected to require a higher mill rate, though many homeowners will likely be paying the higher rate on a lower assessed property value.

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