Important Information Concerning The Bethel Revaluation
As mandated by Connecticut State Statutes, the Town of Bethel is starting work for the revaluation of all real estate in the town. This revaluation will be effective for the Grand List of October 1, 2017. Tax bills for the new revaluation will be mailed out in June 2018 and due by August 1, 2018.
The Town of Bethel has contracted with Tyler Technologies |CLT Division to assist the Assessor with this task. This process will be ongoing through most of 2017.
In the coming months, data collectors from CLT will be visiting properties that have sold or have building permits to gather necessary data for this important project. Data collectors have been hired, trained, and will be supervised by CLT, the nation's leading property revaluation firm. The data collector will carry an official photo identification badge and will be registered with the Assessor's office and police department. The Town urges its residents NOT to allow anyone to enter their home without proper ID. Data collectors will ask permission to inspect the interior of the residence. They will verify the exterior measurements of each building on a property and may ask questions. If applicable, they will ask for verification of recent sales information. The data collectors will not be able to answer questions regarding value, assessments or taxes.
Every property owner will receive a Data Mailer for their property; the Data Mailer contains the information the Town has on file for your property. We ask that you please carefully review all the information contained in the Data Mailer. If there is incorrect information please cross it out and insert the correct information, please sign and return it to the Assessor’s Office. If all the information is correct we ask that you still please sign it and return it to the Assessor’s Office at:
1 School Street
Bethel, CT 06801
Cooperation is important to the overall success of the project. Residents will be asked to sign the data collection form to verify that a data collector visited the property. If no one is at home, the data collector will measure the exterior of all buildings on the property.
Many of the questions we are sure our homeowners may have are posted below in the "Questions and Answers about Revaluation". Residents may call the Assessor's office at 203-794-8507 if they have any questions not answered below or if they need to make an appointment for the inspection.
Ann Marie Heering, C.C.M.A II
Questions And Answers About The Bethel Revaluation
A Town-wide revaluation project is underway. Here are some commonly asked questions and responses.
Q 1: What is a Revaluation?
A Revaluation is the process of conducting the Data Collection and Market Analysis necessary to equalize the values (determine fair market value) of all properties within a municipality for the purpose of a fair distribution of the tax burden.
Q 2: Why is the Town revaluing all properties?
Section 12-62 of Connecticut Statutes requires that each municipality conduct a revaluation of all real property every five years. The purpose of this requirement is to insure uniformity in real property valuations (fair market value) by eliminating inequities that have developed since the last revaluation due to changing market conditions.
A revaluation is undertaken to:
Secure a more equitable distribution of the tax burden
To bring the assessment level up to date
To modernize assessment procedures, and
To comply with the state statutes
Property values change over time; some types of property have appreciated at different annual change (appreciation) rates than other types of property since 2012. The last revaluation for the Town of Bethel was done in 2012. Real estate values in Bethel have been set at the 2012 level. Because property values have changed in that time, inequities have emerged. A properly conducted revaluation equalizes the inequities that the market has caused over the past five years. This equalization is accomplished by estimating the current fair market value as of October 1, 2017 of each real estate parcel in the Town of Bethel.
Q 3: What actions will a Data Collector take when he/she comes to my door?
Ask you questions about the property.
Verify any recent sales of the property.
Ask permission to view the interior of the property.
Measure the outside dimensions of the residence and other structures.
Data Collectors are trained only to collect data. They cannot answer questions about property value or taxes.
Q 4: What is Fair Market Value?
Fair market value is a legal term defined by the courts as the probable price which a property would bring on the open market, given prudent, knowledgeable and willing buyers and sellers. Fair market value is the standard by which the fairness of all assessments is judged.
The buyer and seller of real estate determine the fair market value of real estate. The appraiser or assessor analyzes real estate transactions that occur within a community and determine the factors that lead to the final sale prices. Information developed through the analysis of these sales is used by appraisers and assessors to develop mathematical models that are utilized in estimating the market values of all properties in a community. Some of the typical factors that are used by an appraiser in estimating market values include location, condition, age, size and quality of improvements.
Q 5: What happens during a Revaluation?
Although the law requires towns to revalue property every five years, towns must verify interior and exterior data by means of either data mailers, computerized verification of the exterior dimensions or by a physical inspection of both the interior and exterior of each property every ten years. This is why it is so important to review and return the Data Mailer. This is the data collection phase of the project. While the data collection phase is going on, appraisers are studying the sales and determining where the actual increases and decreases in value are occurring. This study of recent property sales allows comparisons to be made and appraisers to establish parameters to estimate the value of property that has not been sold. The appraisers then review this collected data and apply the determining factors of the sales analysis to come up with a value of each property.
Q 6: Will this mean the Town is going to collect more taxes as a result of Revaluation?
No. The purpose of revaluation is to redistribute the property tax burden by assessing all taxable property at the same level of value. A revaluation is not intended to artificially raise revenues; its purpose is to value all properties by the same standard at the same point in time.
Q 7: Right now my assessment is only a fraction of the true value of my property. Does this mean I am under assessed and will pay more taxes?
No. Real Estate in Bethel is now assessed at the state mandated 70% ratio of fair market value as of 2012. After revaluation all properties will be continue to be assessed at 70% of fair market value but as of October 1, 2017. Your assessment will change, and the taxes you pay per $1,000 of assessed value (the mill rate) will also change. This may result in lower taxes for people who currently may be paying more than their fair share, and may result in higher taxes for those who are may be currently paying less than their fair share. Some homeowners may not see a difference in their taxes.
Q 8: How is the Mill Rate established?
The elected Board of Finance through the adoption of the town's budget establishes the tax rate, or mill rate, annually. This process of establishing the mill rate begins with the preparation of the Town of Bethel's Proposed Budget and concludes with the Voters of Bethel's adoption of the budget.
The simplified formula for determining the mill rate is the Town Levy divided by the Taxable Grand List. The Town Levy (also referred to as the Grand Levy) is simply the amount of money the Town needs to generate through the property tax in order to provide town services. The Taxable Grand List is the total of all non-exempt assessments for all real estate, motor vehicles, and personal property located within the Town's boundaries.
Q 9: What measures have been taken to ensure my security with this activity?
Security of residents is a high priority. All project personnel will have a photo ID card. Each worker will have a background check. Workers' cars (model, license number, etc.) will be registered with the Police and the Assessor's Office. Data collectors are instructed not to enter any house unless an adult is present and the adult has given permission to do an interior inspection. Please contact TYLER | CLT, the Assessor's Office or the Police Department to verify the authenticity of any worker.
Q 10: What qualifications do the Appraisers have?
The administration of this project shall be assigned to a Project Manager or Supervisor who shall be certified by the State of Connecticut as a Revaluation Supervisor pursuant to C.G.S. 12-2c and such other statues and regulations that the State of Connecticut may promulgate from time to time. Project Supervisors are required to have no less than three (3) years of practical experience in the appraisal of commercial, industrial, apartment, farm and residential type properties. Residential Review Appraisers are required to have no less than two (2) years experience. In addition, both the Project Supervisor and Review Appraisers must pass a written comprehensive examination administered by the Office of Policy and Management.
Q 11: Do I have to let the data collector in my home?
No. If you do not wish the Data Collector to come into your home, only exterior data will be collected and interior data estimated. If you do not wish the Data Collector to come on to your property at all, please mail or hand deliver a written notice with the property owner's name, signature and specific address to the TYLER | CLT; c/o Assessor's Office; 1 School Street; Bethel, CT 06801.
It is in the taxpayer's best interest that the new assessments are based on accurate data. The best way to achieve this is to allow the data collector to inspect your property. It is critical to the success of the program that everyone participate to verify the quality of the project.
Q 12: What happens if data collector's aren't allowed to do an interior inspection?
The town is forced to determine what features are in the interior of the house based on surrounding properties. Refused entry homes will be determined to have every feature in other similar homes. It is always better to allow for interior inspections so residents do not get taxed on what they do not have.
Q 13: Will evening or Saturday appointments be available?
Q 14: How will the homeowner be notified of the new assessment?
Each homeowner, at the completion of the project, will receive an individual notice of the new assessment. Property owners can then review the entire public assessed values; so that the property owner can see what the values are around his/her properties. All property owners are given the opportunity to discuss their values with the appraisal staff at an appointed time, which will be publicly announced (Hearings) towards the end of the revaluation. At a hearing the property owner can voice concerns, discuss inaccuracies or discrepancies with a qualified appraiser who will review the property record card and explain the value. Should an inspection or re-valuation need to be done the appraiser will make that determination and any changes that result will be sent to the property owner.
Q 15: What is an informal hearing?
Towards the end of the Revaluation, every homeowner receives a notice of his or her proposed valuation based on the analysis performed. These values are not final; they only become final after the hearings. When a homeowner has a question or concern about the proposed valuation, they are asked to call the firm and a date and time to meet will be set to discuss the valuation process and answer any questions the homeowner may have. An informal hearing is not a forum to discuss taxes, it is strictly meant to answer questions on the property valuations. Homeowners are asked to come prepared with questions and have compared their property to other comparable ones in their neighborhood. A Hearing Officer will determine if a review of the property is necessary. All changes to value that occur due to a hearing will be reflected in the change notice that is sent after hearings are complete.
Q 16: How will TYLER | CLT appraise my property?
TYLER | CLT will estimate the value of your property by using the data collected and analyzing recent sales of houses comparable to yours in your neighborhood.
Q17: How will I know if my assessment is equitable?
There are two very good methods for you to determine this. First, compare your properties to similar properties that sold in the previous year. Your value should be in line with these sale prices. Second, if no recent sales are available, compare your assessment to other similar properties in your area using the Street Listing of Values available in the Assessors Office. Your value should be in line with these similar properties. Remember, very few properties are exactly alike. Your value should be comparable, but it seldom will be exactly the same as what seems to be a similar property.
Q 18: If I disagree with my assessment after a hearing, what are my options?
If any property-owner believes the assessment on their property is in excess of its Fair Market Value they should first notify the Assessors Office. They may then appeal before the Bethel's Board of Assessment Appeals. The Board of Assessment Appeals will review the case and make a determination as to the disposition of the appeal. Should the property-owner still feel the assessment is incorrect, they may appeal to the Superior Court for the judicial district in which the municipality is located. All appeals to the Board of Assessment Appeals must be made by February 20th if the Assessors office files the grand list by January 31st. If the town is granted an extension to file the grand list the filing deadline to the Board of Assessment Appeals is March 20th. Always contact your local assessor's office with any questions pertaining to the filing dates for appeals.
Q 19: When will the reassessment first appear in tax bills?
The reassessment will be reflected in tax bills issued in June 2018. Bethel's Board of Finance will establish the mill rate for those bills in April 2018. Please do not multiply your new assessment by the previous year mill rate.
Q 20: What about elderly and veterans exemptions?
The law requires that the Assessor appraise taxable property and not the people who own it. Under state law, all property is appraised at current fair market value. There are, however, programs for Elderly or Totally Disabled Homeowners and Veterans that provide tax relief. Homeowners who currently qualify and are receiving those benefits will continue to receive them. Exemptions and Tax Credits will be deducted at tax billing time. Homeowners who have questions about their eligibility for programs should contact the Assessor's Office.