Pine Creek property owners protest higher tax values
Updated 5:11 pm, Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Some residents of a Fairfield shoreline neighborhood feel that when it comes to property taxes they've been sent up the creek without a paddle, and want answers from the town.
Members of the Pine Creek Association came to the Representative Town Meeting's session Monday, armed with signs that questioned why their property assessments have jumped so steeply, while many others in town have seen property values decline after the recent townwide property revaluation.
Efforts by property owners in the neighborhood to get their assessments reduced by the Board of Assessment Appeals were, for the most part, denied. So, according to Laura Incerto, some of the homeowners are now considering filing appeals in Bridgeport Superior Court.
Incerto, whose home at 89 Pine Creek Ave. is assessed at $488,880, said the neighbors would like to know how the new property values were determined as well as the comparable sales used to calculate the figures by Municipal Evaluations, the firm that conducted the state-mandated revaluation.
"That's what we're looking for," she said, "an explanation."
Incerto said her neighbor's house recently sold for $550,000. Her own house was built in 1906 and no significant changes have been made to the property in the intervening decades, she said. "It's crazy."
Jane Loper said her assessment increased about $600,000. "Three of my neighbors have put their houses on the market," she said because of the higher tax bills that will be levied because of the hike in assessments.
Assessor Thomas Browne said that as a result of the revaluation, homes on the waterfront, like those in the Pine Creek area, generally maintained their value or increased, while properties in other parts of town declined as a reflection of the slower real estate market.
Several Pine Creek Avenue homes are on the market now with asking prices ranging from $865,000 to $1.6 million.
Acting First Selectman Sherri Steeneck said she will collect information on what might be done to possibly provide relief. "I realize there is a very big discrepancy," said Steeneck, a real estate agent. "I don't know where each individual properties are and whether they are waterfront, which is one of the reasons given that some may have had higher increases."
"We just want to find out from the town what information they used," Incerto said.