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Kiner's Korner: A Virtual Town Hall Meeting With Enfield Town Council Members (Part 2)

Part two of a three-part series in which Bill Kiner questions Town Council members Scott Kaupin, Cindy Mangini and Tom Arnone.

Bill Kiner continues his "virtual town meeting" with Town Council members Scott Kaupin, Cindy Mangini and Tom Arnone.

Q: As it relates to revaluation, can you explain to our readers what reval means to homeowners as it relates to the mill rate and to taxes?

Scott: Although the grand list of taxable properties has yet to be finalized, the residential and commercial/industrial components have decreased approximately 13.7% combined.  Residential properties have decreased a larger percentage than commercial/industrial properties, so there will be a shift in the tax burden from the residential property owner to the commercial/industrial property owner.  To raise the same amount of tax dollars to fund the operations of the Town and the school system, the mill rate will need to increase an equal amount from 23.88 mills to 27.14 mills or +13.7%.  The impact on the residential homeowner varies depending on the change in value of their property.  Residents can perform a simple calculation to compare the taxes paid under the old assessment and mill rate to the new assessment and equalized mill rate.  Take the old assessment, divide it by 1,000 and then multiply it by the mill rate of 23.88.  This is your old tax liability.  Next, take the new assessment, divide it by 1,000 and then multiple it by the equalized mill rate of 27.14.  This is your new tax liability.  If the Town Council maintains the same level of spending in the new budget, many residential property owners will see a decrease in taxes owed. 

Tom:  The grand list isn’t finished yet. We were granted an extension to the end of the month. But real estate values are down almost 14%. We’re waiting on motor vehicle and business personal property tax information. Those taxes could lessen the effect of the drop of property values. According to the towns Finance Director the town would have to increase the mill rate to fund its current level of spending. A higher mill rate doesn’t mean higher taxes. A house valued at $200.000.00 in 2010 paid at our current mill rate (23.88mills) is 4,776.00. That same house assessed today at $170,000.00 would pay 4,614 at a higher mill rate of 27.14 mills.

Cindy: There is no question that re-evaluation of homes has shown a drop of around 14% (percent) in value across the board. Theoretically, in order for the town to fund an unchanged budget for the upcoming fiscal year, the mill rate would have to be increased  from the current 23.88 to around 27.14. A higher mill rate does not always mean a tax increase . We must remember that the Town Council has not yet been presented with the Town Manager’s budget. Until we see what the budget looks like, it would be unfair to try and accurately make a correlation to taxes or the mill rate. The Council will have to take into consideration any increase in costs in the budget for town departments, education costs, and capital improvements needs. These factors, along with learning what the state funding will be,  will all be necessary to fit into the equation of the mill rate and taxes.

Q: Senior citizens are concerned about a number of items. They are concerned that there is not enough public housing, and that senior citizen housing admits people of all ages with various health and mental problems. Any thoughts on this?

Scott: The Town Council plans to meet with the Enfield Housing Authority (EHS) at our Special Meeting of Tuesday, February 21st to discuss these very issues.  In the Town of Enfield the EHA operates the senior housing at various complexes across town.  We will be discussing the ability to open additional housing if a building becomes available such as an elementary school that has been closed.  State Senator John Kissel has also offered his assistance to work with the EHA to secure funding from the state and other contacts and resources.  We have also been made aware of the challenges and issues that have been imposed on the EHA and the residents when “people of all ages with various health and mental problems” are admitted into the senior citizen housing.  We have been told that EHA can not deny the admittance due to guidelines established by the state and federal governments

Tom: I believe there is a need for more senior housing. There have been some suggestions that have floated around. The first one is the use of the Stowe school after the Safety Academy leaves. The problem with that, however, is that we owe money from the library and gym construction. The State Board of Education will penalize us for using that building for anything other than education. Second is the use of the former Control Module building on Brainerd road. This building is a former Enfield school, which until the Safety Academy renovated it was an eyesore for the community. This building would be perfect but it is being sold privately. If anything happens it will be up to the Enfield Housing Authority. The Enfield Housing Authority is responsible for overseeing the operation and management of low and moderate-income properties owned by the authority.

Federal Law requires that housing providers and others who are involved in real estate cannot discriminate against someone who has a physical disability or because the housing provider believes the person is physically disabled.

Cindy: My understanding is that Senior housing is a federally run program. I  am sympathetic to the concerns expressed by some Seniors that there are cases where people of “all ages” with various mental and physical problems have been allowed to live in the Senior housing. It is important to understand, however, that local government has no control over who lives in the complexes. Perhaps those concerned might consider contacting their Congressman on how to best address the issue.

 was published Tuesday. Part three will be published Thursday.

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