The city’s Grand List has increased by 0.8%, a more significant jump than in the past few years.
The 2014 Grand List, based on assessed values as of last Oct. 1, is $4.55 billion. This includes the assessed value of all taxable real estate, personal property (business equipment), and motor vehicles in the city.
“We will probably lead the area in growth,” Mayor Mark Lauretti said.
During the two previous years, Shelton’s Grand List had gone up by 0.5% annually.
An increasing Grand List enables the city to produce more tax revenue without having to raise the mill rate. Basically, the city benefits from an enlarged tax base.
Personal property audits
One factor in Shelton’s new Grand List was a big increase in the overall value of business equipment, helped by a number of personal property audits done by the city.
The city hired an outside firm to audit 600 businesses to see if all their equipment was being properly declared and taxed. “That had an effect,” said city Assessor William Gaffney.
The business equipment category increased in the new Grand List by more than 9%, or $32 million in assessed value.
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2014 SHELTON GRAND LIST
0% (no change)
Personal property owned by businesses includes computers, machines, furniture, fixtures, and various other equipment. The city has 1,521 personal property accounts.
The city had not done personal property audits in the past.
The overall value of real estate remained essentially flat in the Grand List, while motor vehicles went up by 0.9%. The city has 15,411 real estate parcels and 38,468 motor vehicles.
The Grand List for a year is finalized by the end of the following January. The new Grand List will take effect on July 1, when the next municipal fiscal year begins.
Gaffney said Shelton’s Grand List growth appears to compare well to many nearby towns. “When we checked other towns, we found we were either above or consistent with them,” he said.
Lauretti highlights ‘affordability’
Lauretti said Shelton continues to benefit from its pro-business approach, affordability and quality of life.
He said the city is able to withstand economic downturns better than most other communities.
“When we have a recession in Connecticut and the country, Shelton is the last one in and the first one out because of our affordability,” he said, pointing out he’s served as mayor through three economic recessions.
The largest property owner in Shelton remains R.D. Scinto Inc., which has built many office buildings along the Route 8 corridor.
See separate story on the city’s Top Ten taxpayers:
Lauretti said developer Robert Scinto continues to pursue projects in Shelton because of the city’s stable tax rate and business-friendly attitude.
He said Scinto’s proposals aren’t always received as favorably in other towns. “We get it here,” Lauretti said. “It’s been a good marriage. It works for us and for him.”
Future business equipment audits?
Gaffney said the city could do more personal property audits in a few years, looking at the companies not covered by the recent audits as well as firms new to Shelton. He said the completed audits give the city “a base” on which to track a company’s business equipment values in the future.
Gaffney also noted the audits didn’t lead to higher personal property assessments at all companies. “Some went down,” he said.