Manchester Revaluation to Begin
April 14, 2010- In accordance with Connecticut General Statutes, the Town of Manchester is conducting a real property revaluation as required for the Grand List of October 1, 2011. This revaluation will correspond to the tax bills that will be due beginning in July 2012.
This process began in late 2009 when the Town of Manchester undertook a Request for Proposal in order to solicit bids from revaluation firms. Three firms submitted proposals in this RFP, at very similar prices. The bidder selected in this process was Vision Appraisal Technology of Northboro, Massachusetts.
Vision Appraisal Technology also performed Manchester’s revaluations in 2000 and 2006, and is an industry leader, having been in business for over 30 years and performed hundreds of revaluations in Connecticut, including over 25 within the past two years. Many of the same staff that worked here in Manchester in 2000 and 2006 will be returning to Manchester for the 2011 revaluation, giving us an advantage in having revaluation staff with accrued local knowledge.
The 2011 revaluation will be a “full, measure and list” revaluation. Manchester’s 2000 revaluation was also a full, measure and list, but the 2006 revaluation was not. The 2006 revaluation used historic data, updated with verification mailers. Like 2000, the 2011 revaluation involves revaluation staff visiting the properties within the Town to measure and conduct interior inspections.
In the measure and list process, a data collector will visit virtually every property in Manchester documenting information such as location, topography, utilities, zoning, and quality of construction. Each home will be measured on the data collector’s first visit to the home. The data collector will also knock on the door to speak to the owner and request an interior inspection to document the property’s interior quality, condition, room counts, and other particulars.
The Town of Manchester and Vision Appraisal Technology fully understand the sensitivities of the interior inspection process. We realize that there will be many cases where a homeowner is not at home during the day due to their work schedule and other reasons. Thus, data collectors will make more than one attempt to visit each property, and will be available to set up appointments to visit each property if their first “cold call” attempts are unsuccessful. Vision Appraisal Technology will send a “call back letter” to property owners whose properties they were unable to inspect as we get closer to 2011.
With an understanding of security and privacy matters in today’s world, both the Town of Manchester and Vision Appraisal Technology wish to make the inspection process as unobtrusive as possible. The data collectors visit the properties for informational purposes regarding the property only. It is to everyone’s advantage if the database is as accurate as possible and everyone benefits if the information regarding their property’s measurements, quality, condition, room counts, etc. is accurate. Data collector’s will be wearing an identification badge and will have written documentation from the town stating their affiliation with the project. All Vision representatives and their vehicles will also be registered with the police department. Homeowners are encouraged to ask for this identification prior to admitting anyone into their homes. If a homeowner has a question as to the identity of a data collector, they may call the Manchester Police or the Town of Manchester Office of Assessment & Collection for further confirmation.
The interior inspections typically take only 5 to 10 minutes and include a quick tour of the house including basement and attic space. The Data collector will count the number of total rooms and make notations on heating systems, interior construction and extra features of the home. Questions regarding the terms of the recent sale and any changes made to the house since it was purchased will also be asked. To ensure that a home has been inspected, the homeowner will be asked to sign the data collection form to verify that the inspection took place. An interior inspection will not be conducted unless a person 18 years or older is available to sign the form. The Town of Manchester wishes to assure all Manchester residents that this process is being undertaken with the resident’s security and privacy in-mind, and we encourage all residents to participate in the process by consenting to the inspection. If any residents have any questions or concerns, they are encouraged to contact the Town of Manchester Office of Assessment & Collection at 860-647-3016.
Data collectors generally work between the hours of 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Homeowners are reminded that specific questions regarding their current assessment and taxes due should be directed to the Town of Manchester Office of Assessment & Collection. Vision Appraisal Technology’s data collectors are not prepared to answer questions concerning current values or town laws. The Vision Data Collector’s sole purpose at the initial property inspection visit is to gather information. Actual assessed values and taxes based on those assessed values from this revaluation will be determined later, during the market analysis and valuation phases of this project.
As the effective date of this revaluation is not until October 1, 2011, the market analysis and valuation phases of this project will not occur for quite some time yet. The project is starting in early 2010 because, with almost 19,000 properties in Manchester, the data collection phase of this project is time consuming, and will take over a year to complete.
Once the data collection, market analysis and valuation phases of this revaluation are completed, at some point in mid to late November 2011, property owners will receive a notice of their new assessment.
After the initial notice of their new assessment, taxpayers will be invited to participate in an informal hearing if they wish to contest their new assessment. The informal hearing is the first step in the process if the property owner feels their assessment is inaccurate. The informal hearings will take place in November and December 2011. A follow-up notice will be mailed to owners who participate in an informal hearing, showing any change to the assessment.
All owners will receive another assessment notice in early 2012 before the next round of appeals, the Board of Assessment Appeals, which is a process undertaken annually by statute. As with the informal hearings, owners who wish to appeal their assessment will have the opportunity to do so at Board of Assessment Appeals.
Although values will not be known until early 2012, it is worth noting that most revaluations typically experience a shift in the tax burden from the commercial to the residential real estate. While it is clear that virtually all property values have decreased since the 2006 revaluation, this may or may not equate to lower tax bills for any individual property. The main purpose of a revaluation is to correct inequalities in the tax burden that have developed since the last revaluation. Revaluation is a revenue neutral process as when a municipality conducts a revaluation, that municipality's tax levy is not changed by the revaluation, thus the total amount of taxes the Town will need to collect will be the same, regardless of whether or not a revaluation takes place. What does change in a revaluation is the amount of taxes individual taxpayers pay, not the total amount of taxes paid. Thus, in a revaluation, other things being equal, for every dollar that one taxpayer's tax bill goes up, someone else’s tax bill goes down by the same corresponding amount.
Then, finally in July 2012, the first tax payments under this revaluation will be due.
The Town of Manchester asks for patience in this process. It is a long process, one that will take over two years to complete between the start of the process and the payment of the first tax bills after the revaluation. It is a statutory process that is required, and will take time to complete.