Everyone wants to know how the latest property revaluation will impact their taxes. But the process is not quite there yet, explains Mark Branchesi, who has worked as the Assessor of the Town of Orange for the past 17 years.
"It has nothing to do with taxes yet," Branchesi says of the revaluation. "Only when the mill rate is set."
And that typically doesn't happen until May, when the town budget is formally adopted. The current mill rate is 31.2 mills, which means a property owner pays $31.20 for every $1,000 of assessed value.
Taxes are currently based on the 2011 frozen phased-in assessment. By way of explanation, Branchesi notes how the last revaluation was conducted in 2006. It was phased in until late 2008, when the recession hit hard, and the town froze the revaluation.
The recession "had a chilling effect on property values," Branchesi says, and that is why the town froze the revaluation that year.
Where We're At Now and Next Steps
Residents have already received a letter from Vision Appraisal, the company the town contracted with to conduct the new property revaluation. Those letters went out on Feb. 6, Branchesi says.
Vision has been holding informal hearings at the Community Center for those residents who have questions about their revaluation. Those have now wrapped up and any changes would have been made by today, Feb. 28 — the statutory deadline that the revaluation had to be done.
With those in place, Branchesi is now focused on writing a letter that all property owners in town will receive in the coming weeks. In that letter, residents will find three numbers of particular importance:
- 2006 revaluation assessment
- 2012 Vision Appraisal assessment
- 2011 frozen phased-in assessment
"The thing I want people to concentrate on is the relationship between the 2012 assessment and the 2011 frozen phased-in assessment," Branchesi says, reiterating that the latter is what taxes have been based on for the past four years.
He stressed that, again, this information will not determine taxes; only when the mill rate is set will taxpayers be able to apply their assessment to determine how much they will owe.
Branchesi says of the new assessments, "If people are unhappy they can go to the Board of Assessment Appeals."
An application to get on the board's agenda must be submitted at the Assessor's Office in Orange Town Hall by March 20. Forms are available there. We've converted one into a PDF so you can download it from here and bring it in already filled out.