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Town's Value Likely to Drop

Board of Assessment Appeals member Garson Heller is predicting a first for Westport: The town is worth less than it was last time the value was claculated.

“My assumption is in October, for the first time since I have been in town and probably the first time for Westport in general, the grand list will shrink,” said Heller. The grand list is the overall value of the town.

Heller is scheduled to make a presentation on the grand list to the Representative Town Meeting Revaluation Special Committee tonight. He'll explain the process and what Westporters can expect when the report comes back in the fall.

This year's revaluation is a state mandated statistical analysis that looks only at homes that have sold or been heavily remodeled since 2005. The poor real estate market has driven prices down which will lower assessments. Heller thinks there is enough property suffering this effect to cause the town's overall value to drop.

He also aid he suspects the tax burden will shift further toward home owners. Commercial property might now makes up only 10 percent of the grand list by his estimates. In 2005, it comprised 13 percent of town's value.

All of this will bring Heller's board more business than usual as homeowners push to have their standing assessments lowered. “In a normal year we see maybe 40 or 50 appeals,” said Heller. “In a revaluation year, it can be 800 or more.”

Information from the last revaluation can be found on Vision Appraisals website and database here .

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