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Rocky Hill Assessor's Office Saves Residents Money

Office does much of the the work themselves rather than hire out firms even in revaluation year.

 

Revaluation is a tricky process that many don't understand. According to the Assessor's website: "A Revaluation is the process of performing all of the necessary Market Analysis and Valuation steps to determine accurate and equitable values for all properties within a municipality. The equalization of the values within a City or Town creates a fair distribution of the tax burden. The purpose of a Revaluation is not to raise taxes. The purpose is to create an equitable distribution of the tax load."

In some of the surrounding towns, the property values have gone down. The thought going into the revaluation, which will be done in Rocky Hill by Oct. 1 of this year, is some values will go down, some will go up and some will stay the same.

Rocky Hill town assessor Stuart Topliff and his staff takes a unique approach which saves the town literally hundreds of thousands of dollars. During the last revaluation Topliff estimated that they saved around $300,000 for Rocky Hill taxpayers.

Most towns will hire outside agencies to do the work and then also help with appeal hearings. Rocky Hill, however, does ongoing revaluation and has a thorough knowledge of the real estate properties in town.

Topliff said he has repeatedly gone out to properties for inspections and heard the owner say "Well you're just an outsider, you don't know what you're talking about." Then Topliff will tell them he is actually the Assessor for the town and their attitude most often changes.

The Assessor said having solid knowledge about the properties helps them when it comes to the appeal process. Homeowners may come in and make claims about the property when Topliff knows, from being there himself, that the claims might not always be accurate.

Topliff said that a good representation of how much the properties are worth is to simply look at the real estate transactions. Last revaluation, Rocky Hill had never had a million dollar home sale but since then it has. Some neighborhoods may go up or down but even one street could be different depending where it sits.

Take Old Main, for example. In back of houses on one side of Old Main is the Silas Deane Highway. The back of the houses on the other side of Old Main runs to the Connecticut River. That will lead to very different property values on the same side of the street.

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