Inside & out: Inspections for property revaluation underway
On a cold January afternoon, Lisa Roshkind rang the doorbell at a Paul Place home. A "lister" with Vision Government Solutions, she was there to inspect the interior of the small Cape for the townwide property revaluation process that began last July.
"We go through and count the rooms with the homeowner," Roshkind said. Measurements of the basement are also taken, recording how much of that area is finished versus unfinished. All in all, the inspection takes about 10 minutes.
According to Assessor Don Ross, a CodeRED call is made to residents when the inspectors will be in a their section of town. If the homeowner is not home at the time, the inspector will take outside measurements. A letter is then sent to the absent owners, asking them to contact Vision Government Solutions to set up an appointment for an interior inspection.
"I just do appointments," Roshkind said, "usually about 20 to 30 a day." All inspectors have photo ID badges, their cars are registered with police and they usually wear bright orange vests.
While no one relishes getting a property tax bill in the mail, she said "everybody's been very welcoming" during her visits.
More InformationREVALUATION INFO SESSIONS
The town will hold an informational meeting -- one of 10 planned -- on the property revaluation process at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 22, at Fairfield Ludlowe High School, 785 Unquowa Road.
The agenda includes discussion of the five phases of the revaluation and what will occur during each phase of the project. Topics also discussed are the data-collection phase and the "hows" and "whys" of each property visit, the market analysis phase, the valuation phase, the field review phase and the hearings.
Individual property values will not be discussed at the information sessions.
The dates and times of neighborhood presentations on revaluation are posted on the town meetings calendar, www.fairfieldct.org/townmeetings.
Allowing an inspector inside ensures that the information on a particular piece of property is correct. Incorrect information could mean a higher tax bill, if, for example, the assessment states there is a finished basement, when in reality it is unfinished.
According to the Assessor's web page at www.fairfieldct.org, the main purpose of the revaluation is to "correct inequalities in the tax burden that have developed since the last revaluation in 2010."
It does not change the town's tax levy -- the total amount of taxes needed to support the town's expenditures will be about the same, whether or not there is a revaluation. "What does change in a revaluation is the amount of taxes individual taxpayers pay," according to the website. The new property values will be reflected in the tax bills that are sent in July 2016.
Regular revaluation is required in all Connecticut municipalities by state law.
Fairfield property owners can go to www.vgsi.com/schedules to make an appointment or call Vision Government Solutions at 1-888-844-4300 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Anyone with questions or concerns can also call the VGS office in old Town Hall at 203-256-3189.
Information sessions are also planned throughout town to provide residents with a better understanding of the revaluation process. Individual property values, however, will not be discussed at these meetings; the new property values will be announced in November.
Any property owner wishing to discuss current values may contact the Assessor's Office for an appointment at 203-256-3110.