Killingworth's 2011 grand list fell a staggering 12.6 percent, a drop officials say is attributable to a townwide revaulation last year that saw real estate values plummet by a total of $105.8 million.
Killingworth's total taxable property as of Oct. 1 was $715,456,885 - a figure that includes the assessed values (70 percent) of all real estate, personal property and motor vehicles in town.
During 2011's revaluation - a process required under state law to be conducted every five years - motor vehicles increased 5.4 percent and personal property grew at 1.4 percent but real estate fell by a fraction less than 14 percent according to Assessor Donna Shanoff.
Killingworth's mill rate is currently 22.77 and has increased only fractionally over the past four years.
But this spring, the town's finance board will almost certainly be faced with having to increase the mill rate significantly to balance revenues and spending.
"My concern would be that people pay attention to the budget process, because it's important for them to know what's going to happen," said Shanoff who explained that an increase in the mill rate does not necessarily mean an increase in taxes.
"You could have a decrease and normally if your grand list went down and the mill rate went up you could still be paying roughly around the same taxes," she said. "But if there's a decline in revenues coming into the town either through the state or anything like that, and there's in increase in the requirements for revenues for the school, especially the school district because it's almost 80-percent of the budget, than that would have a bigger bearing on what's going to happen to the mill rate."
Shanoff said the housing collapse, which occurred after the town's last revaluation in 2006 but hasn't recovered, was the biggest factor in this year's grand list decline.
"For me, this is the first time that I've had a decrease during the revaluation so we'll just have to see what happens with the economy. I wish I had a crystal ball," said Shanoff.
Last year's revaluation also brought another change for some homeowners, as the town began to more accurately measure horse boarding operations.
Shanoff said the town had recently discovered that a special exception was required by the town's Planning and Zoning Commission to board horses, and as a result taxpayers have been assessed based on the potential income of their business.
"This is the first time we're doing that. It's only recently that we're starting to see the number of people boarding horses in town," Shanoff said.
Editor's Note: From the Office of First Selectman - Town Hall will be closed on Monday, Feb. 20, the state-mandated deadline for assessment appeals applications. Nevertheless, if you wish to appeal your assessment to the Board of Assessment Appeals, the application must be either officially postmarked or received at Town Hall on or before Feb. 20. There is a mail slot next to the main entrance to the Town Office Building for your convenience when the offices are closed.
Top 10 Taxpayers in Killingworth
1. Jensens Residentil Communities LLC $5,596,200
2. Connecticut Light and Power Company $4,971,390
3. Connecticut Water Company $3,658,420
4. Deer Lake II LLC $2,350,080
5. M&M Realty Holdings LLC $2,020,050
6. Reznik Michael I & Nancy J $1,482,450
7. Southport Holdings I LLC $1,290,170
8. KTV Costfarm Limited Partnership $1,248,560
9. Gargiulo Eugene & Catherine $1,117,270
10. Moore Deborah L $1,113,830