New Haven touts tax base growth

New Haven’s grand list, the total assessed value of all taxable property in the city, grew by over $860 million this year ­­— a 16.7 percent increase over last year and an improvement over last year’s three percent growth.

According to Mayor John Destefano Jr.’s office, a large part of the change in total property value is due to property revaluation. Approximately 2.7 percent of the grand list’s growth, or $139 million, is attributable to net new growth of taxable property and assets, which DeStefano said is an indicator of improved economic conditions in the Elm City.

“Last year, New Haven experienced the strongest grand list growth in the state,” DeStefano said in a press release. “New Haven continued to experience strong growth again this year, yet another indicator that the city’s economic development initiatives are succeeding.”

The grand list is broken down into three classes of taxable assets: real property including buildings and land, personal property such as equipment, and motor vehicles. Real property values are reassessed at periodic intervals through a process called revaluation.

Of the 20,855 residential properties in New Haven, 46 percent, approximately $722 million, increased in value in the latest revaluation. New Haven last conducted property revaluation in 2006, at the peak of the nationwide bubble in housing prices, but stopped short of implementing the revalued prices when the bubble burst shortly thereafter.

The $139 million in grand list growth not attributable to property revaluation is due largely to two power plant upgrade projects that came online last year, Benton said. She added that this new growth would generate over $6 million in increased tax revenue using 2010 rates.

“[The new investment] shows confidence — people don’t invest if they don’t have confidence in the area,” said Anne Haynes, CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of New Haven. “Utilities invest in new equipment when they think there is going to be new electricity needs, so there is an indication for future economic vibrancy in New Haven.”

Benton said that the 2.7 percent in new grand list growth is “substantial,” and is one of the greatest increases in the state.

“We have been able to grow the grand list for several years, and that’s why we’ve been able to keep tax rates stable,” she said.

The top five highest taxpayers for the 2011 Grand list are the United Illuminating Company, Winstanley Corporation, the Fusco Corporation, Yale and PSEG New Haven.

Clarification: Feb. 11

A previous version of this article implied that all grand list growth translates into increased property tax revenue. In fact, since mill rates are adjusted to compensate for revaluations of properties, only net new grand list growth — the portion not due to revaluation — translates into increased tax revenue.

Comments

  • ElizabethBenton

    This sentence isn’t quite right: City Hall spokeswoman Elizabeth Benton ’04 said the city follows grand list increases closely since it is equivalent to growth in city tax revenue. If the grand list value rises, Benton said, there is more taxable property value in the city, and city revenue can be increased through property revaluation without increasing tax rates.

    Increases in the Grand List due to revaluation do not necessarily translate into new tax revenue, because there will be a corresponding decrease in the mill rate (the tax rate). The important thing to look at is net NEW growth, which is distinct from property revaluation. This year, the City experienced at 2.7 percent increase in net new growth, which would generate approximately $6 million in new tax revenue based on the existing mill rate.