Topic:
MUNICIPAL BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS; MUNICIPALITIES; PROPERTY TAX; REAL PROPERTY;
Location:
ASSESSMENT; TAXES - PROPERTY;

OLR Research Report


July 1, 2008

 

2008-R-0358

VALUING RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY IN CONNECTICUT AND MASSACHUSETTS

By: John Rappa, Principal Analyst

You asked us to compare how Connecticut and Massachusetts municipalities determine the value of residential property for property taxes and the procedures they provide for appealing these valuations.

SUMMARY

Connecticut and Massachusetts municipalities value and assess all types of property for taxes based on fair market value and use the same methods for determining that value. But their requirements for certifying those values are different. Connecticut municipalities must certify to the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) secretary that the values meet statutory standards each time they revalue property. The Massachusetts revenue commissioner must certify the values every three years.

The states also differ in the share of value municipalities may tax (i.e., the assessment). Connecticut requires them to assess all types of property at 70% of fair market value and tax all property at a uniform rate. Massachusetts requires municipalities to assess all types of property at 100% of fair market value but allows them to tax business property at a higher rate than residential. The law specifies how they may do so.

Connecticut and Massachusetts require municipalities to revalue property according to different schedules. Connecticut municipalities must revalue property at least once every five years; Massachusetts municipalities, annually.

Both states allow property owners to appeal their assessments but require different bodies to act on the appeals. Connecticut allows taxpayers to appeal to local boards of assessment appeals and allows them to appeal the boards' decision to Superior Court. Massachusetts allows taxpayers to appeal assessments directly to the assessors and allows them to appeal the assessors' decisions to the quasi-judicial Appellate Tax Board. Taxpayers may appeal that board's decisions to the state's Court of Appeals. Taxpayers in both states must pay their tax bills while appeals are pending.

ASSESSING RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY

Standard of Value

Connecticut and Massachusetts law requires municipalities to assess most types of property based on market value. Connecticut law requires assessors to determine a property's “present true and actual value,” which it defines as the “fair market value” and “not its value at a forced auction or sale” (CGS 12-63(a)). According to the Connecticut Association of Assessing Officers (CCAO),

“market value is the amount of money for which property may be exchanged (1) within a reasonable period of time and (2) under conditions in which both parties to the exchange are willing, able, and reasonably well informed” (Handbook for Assessing Officers, 1999 ed., CCAO, Office of Policy and Management, and Institute of Public Service).

Massachusetts law requires assessors to determine the “fair cash valuation of all real estate, real and personal, subject to taxation…” (Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 59 38). According to the Massachusetts Supreme Court, fair cash value is:

…the price an owner willing but not under compulsion to sell ought to receive from one willing but not under compulsion to buy. It means the highest price that a normal purchaser not under peculiar compulsion will pay at the time, and cannot exceed the sum which the owner after reasonable effort could obtain for his property (Boston Gass Company vs. Assessors of Boston, 334 Mass. 549 (1956)).

Determining Fair Market Value

Assessors in both states use mostly the same methods to value all types of property. Connecticut law allows them to use “generally accepted mass appraisal methods, which may include, but need not be limited to, the market sales comparison approach to value, the cost approach to value and the income approach to value” (CGS 12-62 (b) (2)).

Massachusetts assessors use generally the same methods, but the legislature did not specify them in law. But the Massachusetts assessors association and the state Revenue Department agree that these are legitimate ways to determine value:

Finding the 'full and fair cash value' or 'market value' of a property involves discovering what similar properties are selling for, what the property would cost today to replace and what financial factors, such as interest rates, may be affecting the real estate market. Valuation techniques for commercial and industrial properties also include analysis from an investment point of view, since the purchase price the buyer is willing to pay depends on the return he expects to receive (You and Your Property Taxes: A Joint Publication of the Massachusetts Department of Revenue and Massachusetts Association of Assessing Officers (undated)).

The states impose different requirements for certifying that the valuations reflect fair market value. Connecticut assessors must determine values based on state regulatory standards and certify to the Office of Policy and Management secretary that they met at least one of those standards (CGS 12-62(f)). Massachusetts law requires the state revenue commissioner to certify each municipality's valuation every three years (Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 40 56).

Assessment Ratio

Connecticut and Massachusetts apply different assessment ratios. The assessment is that portion of a property value that is subject to the municipality's tax rate. With few exceptions, Connecticut law requires municipalities to assess all types of property at 70% of value market value. For example, the owner of a $300,000 home pays taxes on $210,000. The municipality must assess and tax business and other types of taxable property at the same assessment and tax rates, respectively.

Massachusetts law requires municipalities to assess property at 100% of fair market value, but it allows them to tax residential, open space, commercial, and industrial property at different rates determined according to a statutory formula. The formula reduces the tax burden for residential and open space property and correspondingly increases it for commercial and industrial property up to a statutory ceiling. Attachment 1 is a table illustrating how this “tax classification” system works.

Revaluation

Connecticut and Massachusetts law differ over how frequently assessors must revalue property. Connecticut law requires assessors to revalue all property at least once every five years and specifies the processes and methods they must follow. These include updating or correcting property data by viewing each property in its neighborhood setting and inspecting each property at least once every 10 years (CGS 12-62). The legislature enacted most of these processes and methods in PA 06-148, which attachment 2 summarizes.

Massachusetts law requires assessors annually to revalue all property by January 1, and divide it into the four classes mentioned above (Mass Gen. Laws 2A). It does not specify how assessors must revalue property, but the Revenue Department's Bureau of Local Assessment provides guidelines for doing so. They include methods for capturing changes in fair market value (Guidelines for Development of a Minimum Reassessment Program, Bureau of Local Assessment, January 2004 www.mass.gov/Ador/docs/dls/training/presentation/minguide.pdf).

ASSESSMENT APPEALS

Local Appeals

Appeals in both states must begin at the local level. Connecticut taxpayers who wish to appeal their assessments must do so in writing to three-member board of assessment appeals by February 20 annually (CGS 12-111). The appeal applies to the assessment for the assessment year that started the previous October 1. Massachusetts taxpayers who wish to appeal their assessments must also do so in writing to the assessors by February 1. These appeals apply to the assessment year starting January 1 (Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 59 59).

Although both states require appeals to start at the local level, they impose different requirements and timeframes for the appeals bodies to hear them. Connecticut's boards of assessment appeals must hear all appeals regarding residential property assessments. They must also hear appeals on business property, including apartment houses, assessed for more than $500,000. They must do so in March and decide the appeals by the end of that month. The board can reduce the assessment only if the property owner or his attorney or agent comes to hearing, agrees to be sworn in before the board, and answer all questions about the property (CGS 12-113).

Massachusetts assessors must act on an appeal within three months after receiving it and, in doing so may ask the taxpayer to attend a hearing or provide additional information. They automatically deny the appeal if the taxpayer fails to provide the information within 30 days of the request.

State Appeals

Taxpayers in both states may appeal local decisions to state-level bodies. Connecticut taxpayer may appeal to the Superior Court for the judicial district where the property is located, but these appeals do not stop municipalities from collecting up to 75% of the tax imposed on the property (90% for property assessed at $500,000 or more) (CGS 12-117a).

Massachusetts taxpayers can appeal to the quasi-judicial Appellate Tax Board, which is appointed by the governor and housed in the Revenue Services Department. They must file the appeal within three months of the local assessors' decision. Taxpayers may appeal the board's decision to the state Appeals Court.

Attachment 1: How Massachusetts Tax Classification System Redistributes the Tax Burden

Background:

Connecticut municipalities assess and tax all types of property at a single rate

They assess all property at 70% of its fair market value

They tax all property at a single rate, which they determine by dividing the total budget to be funded by property tax revenues by the total taxable grand list. Municipalities apply the resulting percentage to the assessed value of each property to determine the tax bill.

Because different types of property appreciate (or depreciate) at different rates, municipalities must revalue property at least once every five years to insure that the tax assessment reflects the actual fair market value.

Consequently, the tax burden among different types of property often shifts following a revaluation.

Purpose:

Massachusetts tax classification law addresses shifts resulting from revaluations by apportioning the tax levy among different types of property and taxing each type at a rate that yields its apportioned share of the levy. (The levy is the amount of money a municipality must raise from property taxes to cover its annual budget.)

Method:

Determine the total of value of taxable property.

Divide property into classes, total the value for each class, and determine each class' share of the total value of taxable property

Identify the class or classes whose share of the tax burden will be reduced and the class or classes whose share of the tax burden will be increased

Massachusetts reduces the burden for residential property and open space land that is assessed based on its fair market value. (As in Connecticut, Massachusetts farms, forests, and open spaces can be valued on how they are used if the owners agree to continue these uses for a specified time.)

It reduces the burden for this property by subjecting only a portion of its value to taxation. That portion is a statutory percentage referred to as the “residential factor.” Currently the factor is 65%.

That percentage affects formulas used to determine each class' tax rate.

The law requires municipalities to increase the residential factor if the tax burdens on the commercial and industrial classes exceed 150% of their respective total values.

Example

Given:

Total value of all property: $1,000

Total tax levy: $10

Residential Factor = .65

Open space adjustment: .75 X .65

Commercial adjustment: Total value of commercial class divided by the total value of commercial and industrial classes multiplied by the difference between 100% and the total adjusted values for residential and open space classes

Industrial adjustment: Total value of industrial class divided by the total value of the commercial and industrial classes multiplied by the difference between 100% and the total adjusted values for residential and open space classes

Comment:

The formulas for adjusting the commercial and industrial classes' share of total property value increase those classes' relative share of that value. They do so by basing each class' share on only a portion of the total property value. Consequently, the formulas have the opposite effect of the residential factor.

Property Class

Total Value

% of Value

Share of Total Levy per Statutory Formulae

Class' Tax Rate

Residential

600

.60.0%

.60 X .65 (Residential Factor)=39%

$3.9/$600=.0065

Open Space

50

5.0%

.05 X (.75 X .65)=2.4%

$0.24/$50=.0048

Commercial

150

15.0%

150/150+200 X (1.0-(.39+.24)=25.1%

$2.51/$150=.0167

Industrial

200

20.0%

200/150+200 X (1.0-(.39+.24)=33.5%

$3.35/$200=.0167

Tax Rate Recalculation:

By law, a municipality must recalculate the tax rate if any class' share of the total levy exceeds 150% of its value. (The law increases this threshold to 175% of a class' value under specified circumstances.)

The adjusted share of the levy for the commercial and industrial classes exceed 150% of their unadjusted shares:

Commercial: unadjusted share=.15; Threshold=1.5 X .15 or .225; Adjusted share of levy=.251, which is greater than .225

Industrial: unadjusted share=.20; Threshold=1.5 X .20 or .30; Adjusted share of levy=.335, which is greater than .30

Consequently, the municipality must recalculate the tax rates by increasing the residential factor, which increases the residential class' share of the levy

Attachment 2: PA 06-148, AAC Property Revaluations

PA 06-148—sSB 668

Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee

Planning and Development Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING PROPERTY REVALUATIONS

SUMMARY: This act reorganizes the statutes governing the way towns must revalue property. In doing so, it makes many substantive and technical changes, some of which reflect current practice and terminology.

The act retains the five-year revaluation requirement, but modifies how assessors gather or verify property data when conducting a revaluation. It authorizes the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) to adopt regulations for gathering, recording, and maintaining data collected during that process. It establishes a working group to recommend how revaluation can be improved. The act changes the penalty for failing to implement a scheduled revaluation and the procedures under which it can be waived.

The act changes some of the procedures and requirements for implementing, deferring, or postponing a revaluation. These include notifying taxpayers about assessment increases, the time period for the public to inspect revaluation documents, and deadlines for notifying OPM about decisions to implement or phase in a revaluation.

Lastly, the act consolidates the statutes under which towns can phase in a revaluation. In doing so, it authorizes a new phase-in method, extends the maximum phase-in period to five years, and requires local legislative bodies to approve the phase-in method. The act also makes related procedural changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage except for the revaluation, phase-in, and postponement provisions, which take effect October 1, 2006 and apply to assessment years beginning on or after that date.

REVALUATION CYCLES AND METHODS

Prior Methods ( 1 (Repealed Provisions))

By law, assessors must revalue all property at least once every five years (except in towns that have deferred their next scheduled revaluation). Prior law allowed them to do so by:

1. physically inspecting the exterior and interior of all properties,

2. physically inspecting some properties in this manner and using statistics to determine the value of others, and

3. using only statistics to determine values.

But the law suggested that assessors had to revalue property either by comparing sales statistics or physically inspecting each property. The act eliminates the notion that assessors revalue property by using one method or the other.

Whether an assessor must physically inspect a property depends on when he last inspected it. By law, he must inspect each property at least once every 10 years. This rule gives him the option of physically inspecting properties on different 10-year cycles. In other words, it allows him to physically inspect a different group of properties each year between revaluations and use the information he gathered to determine their value for the next scheduled revaluation.

But prior law required assessors to physically inspect all properties for the next revaluation if they used statistics for the previous one. The act eliminates this requirement and the term “statistical means.” It keeps the 10-year cycle for physical inspections, which it renames as “full inspections,” but changes the conditions when towns must conduct them.

New Revaluation Rules and Methods ( 1 (New Provision))

The act still requires assessors to revalue property at least once every five years, but changes the rules under which they must use certain assessment methods. An assessor must use generally accepted mass appraisal methods, which include the traditional market sales, cost, and income approaches to valuing property.

When conducting the revaluation, the act also requires the assessor to update or correct the information he already has about each property by viewing it in its neighborhood setting (i.e., field review). He must compare that information with the property's observable attributes, make the necessary corrections, and verify that the valuation includes those attributes.

The act still requires the assessor to inspect each property at least once every 10 years and use the data for the next scheduled revaluation. During any year when inspections are due, the assessor can update and verify the data he already has on the properties without inspecting them. He may do this by sending questionnaires to each owner requesting information about the property's acquisition and asking him to verify the accuracy of the information the assessor already has.

The assessor must then evaluate the quality of the responses by subjecting them to a quality assurance program. If he is satisfied with the overall results, the assessor may inspect only those properties for which he received no responses or unsatisfactory ones. In conducting a full inspection, the assessor must verify the property's exterior dimensions and enter and examine the property's interior. The assessor may enter and inspect the property only with the owner's or an adult occupant's permission.

Satisfying Revaluation Requirements ( 1 (b) (3))

Although the law requires assessors to fully inspect each property at least once every 10 years, prior law provided a window during which the requirement did not apply. The act alters that window.

Under prior law, a town satisfied the requirement if the assessor physically inspected property any time from June 27, 1997 to October 1, 2009. But it also required the town to conduct the next physical inspection within 10 years of the date of the last physical inspection. Under the act, if the last time a town fully inspected property was before October 1, 1996, it must do so again by October 1, 2009. The town must thereafter comply with the act's inspection requirements.

By law, assessors must approve the valuations determined for a revaluation. In towns with boards of assessors, the act specifies that the board must approve them by majority vote. The act eliminates the requirement that at least two assessors in these towns act together when revaluing property.

Revaluation Company ( 1 (e))

Prior law generally authorized assessors to designate state-certified revaluation companies to conduct revaluations. The act specifies the tasks a company may perform while conducting a revaluation. These are collecting and analyzing property data, using mass appraisal methods, viewing property in its neighborhood setting, and notifying owners about their new assessments as the law requires. The company must perform these tasks according to a method the assessor approves.

The assessor must still comply with any other local or state revaluation requirements, including the regulations the OPM secretary must adopt under the act. The act specifies that the assessor must comply only with those local requirements that are consistent with the statutes.

PENALTY

Amount ( 1 (d) (1))

The law imposes a penalty on towns for each year they fail to implement a scheduled revaluation. The act changes the penalty. Under prior law, the penalty equaled 10% of the total annual grants a town receives under statutory formulas. Under the act, it equals 50% of the town's Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Fund grant and 100% of its Local Capital Improvement Program grant. The penalty is imposed at the start of the July 1 fiscal year following the revaluation's October 1 deadline and continues each fiscal year until the town implements the revaluation.

Under the act, the OPM secretary must notify the town's chief executive officer about the amount of funds the town must forfeit each year for failing to implement the revaluation. He must also reflect that amount in his certification to the comptroller regarding the town's grant payments.

The act specifies that the secretary cannot impose the penalty in situations where the town's chief executive officer extended the deadlines for completing the grand list and hearing assessment appeals. The law allows the officer to do this for cause.

Waiver Procedure ( 1 (d) (1))

The act alters the process the secretary must follow when a town asks him to waive the penalty. Prior law did not impose a deadline by which the town had to request the waiver, but required the secretary to respond within 15 business days after receiving the request. By law, he must grant the waiver if reasonable causes prevented the town from revaluing property. These include:

1. an extraordinary circumstance or an act of God,

2. a revaluation company's failure to complete its contractual duties to the town's satisfaction,

3. a delay in completing the revaluation caused by the assessor's death or incapacitation, or

4. a Superior Court order affecting the revaluation.

The act still allows the secretary to waive the penalty for these causes, but tightens the one regarding the revaluation company. He can waive the penalty only if the town imposed sanctions on the company for failing to complete its contractual duties to the town's satisfaction. The sanctions must be stipulated in the town's contact with the company.

If the town seeks a waiver, the act requires its chief executive officer to request one no sooner than 30 business days after the assessor signed the grand list reflecting the outdated values, and no later than 30 days after the start of the fiscal year in which the penalty applies. The chief executive officer must explain why the town failed to implement the revaluation and provide any additional information the secretary requires.

The secretary must respond within 60 days after receiving the request and any additional information he requested. He may delay his decision pending a possible court order affecting the revaluation. Otherwise, he must grant the waiver for the same reasonable causes mentioned above.

The act bans the secretary from granting a town waivers for consecutive years without the legislature's approval.

POST-REVALUATION REQUIREMENTS

Notifying Taxpayers ( 1 (f))

The act changes the requirements for notifying taxpayers about a revaluation. By law, an assessor must notify taxpayers in writing about the revaluation no sooner than the revaluation's effective date (October 1) and no later than 10 calendar days immediately following the date when the assessor signs the grand list. The act specifies that he must send the revaluation notice to each owner's last known address.

Under the act, the notice must indicate the property's value before and after the revaluation, state that the owner has a legal right to appeal the new assessment, and explain the process for doing so.

Inspecting Documents ( 1 (c))

The act narrows the time period during which the public may inspect the criteria, guidelines, and similar materials the town used to revalue property. Under prior law, an assessor had to allow the public to inspect this material in his office from the time he began revaluing property to at least 12 months after the revaluation took effect. It also allowed the public to continue inspecting the materials up until the next revaluation, but did not specify where they could inspect them.

The act narrows the time for public inspection to the period between the date when the assessor notified people about their properties' new values and at least 12 months after the revaluation's effective date. The act also drops the requirement that the town allow the public to continue inspecting the revaluation material after that date.

The act specifically allows the public to inspect the list of property sales by the neighborhood the assessor used to determine fair market value.

OPM Notification ( 1 (d))

The act requires towns to notify the OPM secretary about certain decisions regarding a revaluation. A town must notify him within 30 days after the assessor signs and files the revalued grand list. Under prior law, the town had to notify the secretary within five days after it fixed the tax rate based on that grand list.

DEFERRING OR POSTPONING REVALUATIONS

Deferrals ( 1 (k) (Repealed))

The act eliminates towns' authority to defer a revaluation if statistics show little or no change in property values since the last revaluation. This authorization would have expired October 1, 2007. The act also eliminates a committee that advises OPM about these deferrals.

Postponement ( 1&3)

The law allows towns to gives assessors and boards of assessment appeals more time to complete their duties. Prior law allowed a town's chief executive officer to grant a one- and two-month extension to the assessor and the board, respectively, for cause. The act requires him to grant these extensions.

By law, the town cannot postpone the revaluation for a longer period without the secretary's approval. The town must request that approval, which the secretary may grant if the board cannot meet the deadline for hearing appeals. The act limits the postponement period to one year and prohibits the secretary from granting postponements for consecutive years. It also specifies that the penalty for failing to implement a revaluation does not apply in these situations.

In situations where the secretary grants the one-year postponement, the act shortens the deadline by which the assessor must complete the grand list, from 60 days to 30 days after the secretary's approval. The assessor must still notify people about increases in their properties' assessments within 10 days after completing the grand list, and they can still appeal the increases within 30 days of the notice. But, under the act, an increase takes effect in the next assessment year if the assessor failed to notify a property's owner.

The act eliminates the secretary's authority to postpone a revaluation the town cannot complete. Prior law allowed him to do so under an agreement with a town specifying how it would complete the revaluation. The agreement had to specify the conditions the town had to meet in order to avoid a penalty for failing to implement a revaluation.

REVALUATION PHASE-INS ( 2)

Methods

The act consolidates the statutes specifying two methods towns must use if they want to phase in increases in assessed values after a revaluation, and changes some of their provisions. It also authorizes a new, third method and standardizes the procedures for adopting any of the methods.

Under prior law, one of the methods allowed towns to phase in all or part of the increase in a property's value after revaluation over four years. The act requires them to phase in all of the increase for up to five years.

The other existing method is based on the ratio between a property's assessed value and its fair market value. The assessed value is that portion of the fair market value subject to taxation. By law, properties are assessed at 70% of their fair market value, which changes over time. Under the act, the second method phases in the difference between ratios before and after revaluation over five years. The phase-in period under prior law was up to four years.

(PA 06-176 allows towns to phase in a portion of the increase in assessed values after a revaluation and specifies how they may do so.)

The third method divides properties into classes and phases in the rate at which the assessment increased for each class. In other words, instead of phasing in the rate at which each property's assessment increased, the third method phases in the rate at which the assessment increased for all properties within the class. As with the other methods, the maximum phase-in period is five years, including the year when the revaluation took effect.

Under this method, the property classes are residential, commercial, and vacant land. The commercial class includes apartments containing at least five units, industrial property, and public utility property. The third method works if there are sales records for a class or enough sales within each class to extrapolate a rate of increase for the entire class. For this reason, the act requires the assessor to use the second method when these conditions cannot be met.

The act specifies how the assessor must treat newly constructed property that becomes subject to taxation during a phase-in. The assessor must treat this property the same way he treats other comparable property during that phase-in year. He must do this before he prorates the property based on the month when it became subject to taxation. Prior law stated only that the assessor had to assess the new construction at the same rate that applied to other property during that phase-in year.

The act requires OPM to reflect phase-in values when calculating payments in lieu of taxes for state-owned properties and private colleges and hospitals and elderly property tax relief grants. It must do this with respect to phase-ins that took effect on or before October 1, 2005 and were based on the difference between the properties' pre- and post-revaluation value. It must also do this with respect to phase-ins that took effect on or after October 1, 2006 and were based on the rate of increase in pre- and post-revaluation value.

In these cases, the town must notify any special taxing district within its borders about the phased-in values.

Procedure

Under prior law, a town could not implement a phase-in without the legislative body's approval. Under the act, the legislative body must also approve the phase-in method and the term, which cannot extend into the town's next five-year revaluation cycle. In towns where the legislative body is the town meeting, the board of selectmen must make these decisions.

The act also requires the legislative body or the board of selectmen to approve any proposal to discontinue a phase-in before it is scheduled to end. These bodies must decide this before the October 1 of the assessment year when the proposal would end the phase-in. The town must assess the properties based on the revaluation if the legislative body discontinues the phase-in or the phase-in period ends. Under prior law, the legislative body could discontinue a phase-in started only under the first method.

The act requires the town's chief elected officer to notify the OPM secretary when the legislative body votes to start or discontinue a phase-in. The officer must notify the secretary in writing within 30 days of the legislative body's decision or the town must pay a $100 penalty.

REGULATIONS ( 1 (g))

Standards

The act broadens the secretary's authority to adopt regulations governing revaluations. Prior law authorized him to adopt regulatory standards for testing whether a revaluation accurately measured changes in property values. It required towns to meet all of these standards and subjected them to a penalty if they did not.

The act requires the regulations to address how assessors must manage the revaluation process, including the method for compiling and maintaining property records, documenting property inspections, and determining property sales data used for mass appraisals. The regulations also must establish criteria for measuring the extent to which the assessments are level and uniform. These criteria must apply to different property classes where enough sales occurred to accurately determine the change in value.

Certification

The act requires assessors to certify in writing to the town's chief executive officer and the OPM secretary that the revaluation meets at least one of the regulatory criteria. An assessor must do this no later than the date he signs the grand list. If he designated a company to conduct the revaluation, then the employee who conducted the field reviews or performed the mass appraisals must also sign the certification. If the assessor cannot sign the certification, then the town must pay the same penalty the act imposes for failing to implement a revaluation.

The assessor must keep a copy of the certification and any supporting data in his office and make it available to the public under the same conditions that apply to other revaluation materials.

REVALUATION WORKING GROUP

Purpose

The act establishes a 13-member working group to study the revaluation process and recommend how it can be improved. At a minimum, the study must include:

1. the development of a master contract municipalities can use to hire revaluation companies,

2. the development of a region-wide schedule for conducting revaluations and recommendations on how to implement it, and

3. consideration of the rules for implementing revaluations.

In considering these rules, the group must ensure that all:

1. revaluation terms and procedures are clearly defined,

2. requirements for when towns must inspect properties are clarified,

3. allowable elements of a quality assurance program are listed, and

4. phase-in provisions are clear and workable.

Membership

As Table 1 below shows, the working group consists of statutory members and municipal and business representatives appointed by legislative leaders.

Table 1: Property Revaluation Working Group

Member

Appointing Authority

Municipal Government (two members)

House Speaker

State-wide Realtors Group (two members)

Senate President Pro Tempore

Business Group

House Majority Leader

Business Group

Senate Majority Leader

Connecticut Association of Assessing Officers

House Minority Leader

Connecticut Association of Assessing Officers

Senate Minority Leader

Chairmen and ranking members of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee or their designees

Statutory

Office of Policy and Management Secretary or his designee

Statutory

The appointing authorities can appoint legislators who are also members of the groups from which they must make their respective appointments, which they must make within 30 days after the act takes effect. The OPM secretary must chair the group and call its first meeting by November 30, 2006. OPM must provide staff support.

Report

The group must report its findings and recommendations to the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee by January 1, 2007. It terminates on that date or the date it submits the report, whichever is later.

JR:ts