Chairman’s View: Revaluation

New Canaan’s real estate grand list fell by $570 million (7.15%) compared to 2017.In the recent revaluation:
  • 4,861 parcels saw average decreases of 11%.
  • 2,308 saw average increases of 13%.
  • For homes worth more than $3 million, the average decrease was 14%.
  • For $2 million to $3 million homes, the average decrease was 10%.
  • For $1 million to $2 million homes, the average decrease was 7%.
Homes less than $1 million saw an average increase of 1%. Multifamily homes decreased 4%. Commercial properties increased an average of 13%. Condominiums increased 9%. 
We will not know what the new mill rate is and the new taxes are until the MuniVal consultation period is complete (this week and first week of January), then the Board of Assessment appeals process is complete (February) and then the (town and school) budget process ends with the Town Council vote April 4, 2019. 
If your revaluation is factually wrong then schedule a meeting this week for early January with MuniVal, the revaluation company and correct the facts (203-292-5500 or If unsuccessful, then you must appeal in person to the Board of Assessment Appeals with facts about your house and comparable sales that occurred between Oct 1, 2017 and Oct 1, 2018. Appointments are given February 1 to 20 and the appeals take place in March. Sales that fall outside of that 1-year window are considered but carry less weight. 
After the 2013 revaluation the Board of Assessment Appeals increased two assessments and reduced 187 of the 285 appeals filed. Some homeowners appeal alone, others take a Realtor or an attorney. Some attorneys charge by the hour. Others work on contingency, taking a percentage of a successful appeal. If an appeal process is unsuccessful, the recourse is a lawsuit. Five years ago, 13 homeowners filed lawsuits against the town. Two were subsequently withdrawn. It takes three or four years to resolve a lawsuit.
Assuming health care rises 5%, town salaries rise 2.8%, school salaries 2.2% and $2.5 million comes from the general fund I expect expenses to increase 1.47% with “level services” and 1.86% if we follow Board of Finance guidance. Therefore, the mill rate announced in May will be between 18.61 and 18.69. That’s up 10% from 16.96.  A homeowner’s revaluation would have to decrease 9% in order to see a drop in taxes. To calculate your 2019 taxes multiply .01862 by your new valuation. (The spreadsheet is posted at
Darien is revaluing now. Their assessor predicted most revaluations within 3% or 4% of their previous valuation. He expects the Darien mill rate to remain close to their current 16.08 rate. Wilton, now at 28.19, will send out revaluation letters in early January. Ridgefield’s grand list rose one half of one percent in their February 2018 revaluation, a 28.78 mill rate. Westport’s mill rate has been flat at 16.86 for 2 years and they won’t revalue until 2020. New Canaan experienced a 3% drop in the 2013 (reval) grand list but gained 1% in most years since (up $84 million, $85 million, $81 million, then $51 million in 2017).