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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Mill rates and your taxes

Recently Mayor Dickinson’s campaign mailed out a flyer on Wallingford’s mill rate and the mill rate of surrounding towns trying to make it seem like the lower mill rate was something to be all excited about. It is and it isn’t and it depends on what you’re looking at.

First – a
definition of what the mill rate is: (

A mill is equal to $1.00 of tax for each $1,000 of assessment. To calculate the property tax, multiply the assessment of the property by the mill rate and divide by 1,000. For example, a property with a assessed value of $50,000 located in a municipality with a mill rate of 20 mills would have a property tax bill of $1,000 per year.

In the state of Connecticut, all towns use 70% factor to reach the assessed value.

So you have the apprised value of a home and for the sake of simplicity let’s say that is $100,000.00 and let’s assume a mill rate of 30.00 mills.

The you use the 70% factor to reach the assessed value which is $70,000.00; that is used for the purposes of taxing the owner.

Then you have the mill rate and this is used as follows:

Assessed value of $70,000.00 divided by 1,000 = 70.

70 times the mill rate of 30 equals $2,100 – those are your taxes.

So how do the towns compare?

Meriden estimated median house or condo value in 2011: $192,738
70% value to calculate taxes = $134,915
Meriden mill rate 34.99 (outer district); taxes = $4,720
Meriden mill rate 37.09 (inner district); taxes = $5,003

Wallingford Estimated median house or condo value in 2011: $275,514
70% value to calculate taxes = $192,860
Wallingford  mill rate 26.22; taxes = $5,056

Meriden has more services; part of the city has trash pickup and all of the schools have full day Kindergarten.

More services and the taxes are STILL less for the same MEDIAN priced home.

The lower mill rate means nothing in this situation; you are paying MORE in Wallingford.

The argument will be made that the home in Wallingford if more expensive than the one in Meriden but it is a relative cost of a median priced home. The old saying is “if I could pick up my house and drop it in Meriden is would cost less to buy” and this is reflected in the differences is the cost for the “same” median priced home between the towns.

There are many additional arguments to have; someone or a family chooses a given town for one reason or another, for a set of services one town offers over another, the relative safety of one town over another, the ability to buy more of a home in one town over another for the same amount of money and so on.

At the end of the day the actual discussion is “how much have the taxes changed” NOT “what is the mill rate” because the mill rate WILL go up and down based on the changes in property values.

I will maintain what I have said prior in my Wallingford Taxes – MYTH and REALITY post – from the prior revaluation (2005) residential properties went up more than commercial / industrial so when the mill rate was adjusted downward to offset that, the burden shifted to the residential homeowner and has stayed there.

Between that shifting and the annual changes / increases to the budget the residential home owner is paying, on average, 40 percent more now than in 2005.

As I have also stated prior and will continue to maintain that you can check for yourself – call the tax office at 203-294-2135 and get the taxes for where you live, even if you didn’t live there in 2005, and you will see the changes for yourself.


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