WESTPORT, Conn. — Thanks to an increase in business and real estate activity in Westport last year, the town’s tax base is larger than it was in 2012— a strong indicator that Westport’s economy is on the rise, Assessor Paul Friia said.
The 2013 Grand List — the sum of the net assessed value of real estate, motor vehicles and personal property—totaled more than $9.940 billion. That’s an increase of approximately 1.3 percent from the 2012 Grand List of $9.804 billion. Increases, Friia said, were seen in all three categories.
“An increase in the Grand List is good news because it shows there’s a continued interest in the town,” Friia said Monday. “Not only is there an increase in people wanting to move in, we have new businesses and restaurants moving in, and retail spaces are being absorbed quickly. Overall, things are looking good for us now.”
Not only is an increase to the Grand List a sign that the local economy is on an upswing, Friia said it helps to keep tax rates lower.
“A larger Grand List helps absorb some of the tax burden. As the list increases in size, it spreads the tax burden over more people,” he said. “This keeps tax rates down. It doesn’t mean there won’t be any tax increases, but it certainly lessens the impact of any increases in the budget.”
Real estate assessments, which make up 93 percent of the Grand List, increased by 1.25 percent. This growth is the result of residential and commercial new construction and renovations last year, and indicates the continued strength of the Westport market, Friia said.
Personal property assessments, which consist of business personal property, increased by 4 percent. This increase reflects a continued growth in commercial business activity, he said. Personal property assessments make up almost 3 percent of the Grand List.
Motor vehicle assessments— which account for more than 3 percent of the Grand List— increased by 2.5 percent. This is attributed to more people buying new vehicles, Friia said.
The current Grand List totals in each category are as follows:
- Real estate: $9,324,118,980
- Motor vehicle: $319,602,814
- Personal property: $296,691,938
- Grand List total: $9,940,413,732
The above figures are subject to change pending the outcome of Board of Assessment Appeals hearings in March, Friia said.
The Grand List will be used in calculating the town's 2014-15 budget and tax rate.
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