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Property Values Drop 13% in Westport

Updated, 1/4/11: Whether you're a residential or commercial property owner in Westport, the value of your property has probably dropped.

On average, residential property values in town have declined 13 percent since 2005, according to the 2010 revaluation results released by Town Assessor Paul Friia Monday afternoon. For commercial property, the average reduction was 12 percent. Notices giving the new valuations were mailed Dec. 27.

Although property values have dropped, Friia said that doesn’t mean taxes will, too.

“If assessments go down, usually mill rates have to compensate for that, meaning they go up,” Friia said. “If you think about running a town, for instance, you need a certain amount of money. And if one part of the equation goes down, the other goes up.”

The current mill rate in Westport is 14.85, Friia said, meaning property owners currently pay $14.85 in taxes for every $1,000 of assessed value. For example, a home with an assessed valued of $500,000 owes $7,425 in taxes. And while Friia said he believes the mill rate will go up, he can’t say how much.

However, because the average reduction in residential and commercial properties is close, Friia said there won’t be a substantial shift in the tax burden between the two categories.

As these percentages represent the average, some properties saw larger reductions than others, he added.

"Valuation differences among residential properties typically reflect market variations that indicate certain areas of town may have held their values better than others," Friia said. "This is not unusual, especially in a town that has the diversity of properties that are present in Westport."

Waterfront properties, Friia said, were among those that fared better.

According to Friia, both current and previous assessment information can be found on the town website. Anyone wishing to schedule an informal hearing should call the phone number listed at the bottom of their revaluation notice by Jan. 7, he added.

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