Fix unfair assessments
Published 3:40 pm, Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Do you think a 50 percent increase in yearly property taxes is fair? If the market is down nationally 25 to 35 percent, how does the Town of Fairfield justify increasing some assessments 25 to 35 percent, thereby increasing certain tax bills as much as 55 percent? And what criteria is used to determine that only certain areas of the town should be increased?
It seems the town of Fairfield has resorted to biased and unfair increases to some property owners in order to raise revenue due to increased budget expenses. It's time for the town of Fairfield to change the way things are done, i.e. careful planning and cutting of all town agency expenses, not to mention more careful monitoring of the Board of Education's budget and review of pension benefits.
As a result of the inequitable property tax increases, 170 taxpayers have filed lawsuits in Superior Court against the Town of Fairfield. Some taxpayers have negotiated privately and successfully with the town in order to have their tax bill calculated at a lawful and fair rate. Those who have filed lawsuits are waiting for pre-trial hearings which would involve meeting with the town attorney, tax assessor and appraisers in New Britain. Not only has this become a costly and time-consuming process for the already overburdened taxpayer, the Town of Fairfield will have to pay attorneys fees and assessor's time and travel for court proceedings. Would it not be more prudent and less expensive to meet and negotiate with the taxpayers at a local venue to settle these cases out of court than to file extensive paperwork and travel a great distance for the same results? Many town representatives and residents have acknowledged that this latest revaluation was a faulty appraisal process and that certain residential areas where property taxes have increased 50 percent is not right. Who will come forward and right this wrong? It should be handled as soon as possible to avoid further unneeded town expense and property owner expense.
Also in question is the definition of "open space" as it relates to the assessment of private clubs and condominiums. Are the formulas and calculations used for private clubs and condominium assessments the same as those applied to residential properties?
As concerned and overburdened taxpayers, we think it's time for the town to address these issues.