Shelton grand list goes up by 0.5%

For the second year in a row, Shelton’s grand list grew — but not by much.

The 2013 grand list increased by 0.5% from the previous year, rising by $21.9 million to almost $4.52 billion.

“With what has been going on in the economy, this is good,” said city Assessor William Gaffney. “There at least was some growth.”

His view was echoed by Mayor Mark Lauretti.

“Every little bit helps,” Lauretti said. “A half of a percent is a half of a percent. Some communities didn’t even get that.”

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Real Estate




Motor vehicles




Business equipment





The grand list is the combined assessed value of all taxable real estate, business equipment (called “personal property”), and motor vehicles in the city. In simple terms, it represents what people frequently call “the tax base.”

The 2012 Shelton grand list also had increased by 0.5% from the previous year.

Released near the start of the year

The Shelton tax assessor’s office releases the grand list in the early part of each calendar year, based on assessed values from the previous Oct. 1.

A growing grand list means a municipality can generate more in tax revenues without increasing the tax (mill) rate.

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Shelton has generally benefited from an expanding grand list in the past few decades because of all the corporate development in the city.

Real estate

Real estate, called “real property,” accounts for most of the grand list. In Shelton’s new grand list, real property increased 0.4%, to $3.87 billion.

Real estate includes land and structures. The value of real estate makes up about 85.5% of the city’s overall grand list.

One property added to the 2013 grand list was Avalon Shelton on Canal Street. The 250-unit apartment complex downtown had been started during the time of the previous grand list but was mostly completed in the time for the new grand list.

Some additional projects have been started that should be reflected in the next grand list, such as the Benchmark senior living facility at Split Rock and the 36-unit Shelton Cove townhouse development on River Road.

Business equipment

Business equipment declined very slightly — by 0.1% — to $340.6 million. This category includes such items as computer equipment, machinery, furniture, and other fixtures used by businesses.

Business equipment accounts for about 7.5% of the city’s overall grand list.

There are about 1,500 personal property accounts in Shelton.

Declaration of personal property is essentially done on a voluntary basis by businesses.

In 2013, the city hired an outside company to conduct personal property audits of some businesses, a process that still is ongoing. The company is being paid $400,000 to audit 600 accounts.

Gaffney said the company’s efforts already have led to the collection of more than $1 million in new tax revenue.

Motor vehicles

Motor vehicles increased in the new grand list by 1.7%, to $311.1 million. Vehicles make up about 7% of the overall grand list.

The city had about 38,300 vehicles as of Oct. 1, 2013, a number that changed little from the previous year.

Therefore, the grand list increase for motor vehicles indicates residents have been buying new and more valuable cars. “The incentives have started again,” Gaffney noted of sales in the auto industry.

During an economic downtown, people tend to hang on to their vehicles longer, and those vehicles decline in value every year as they age.