Grand List: Town tax base grows — about half of one percent

Ridgefield’s tax base is creeping closer to $5 billion. Growth of close to $29 million — or 0.6% — pushed the total assessed value of taxable property in town to $4,840,327,000 for the 2019-20 fiscal year. 
The $28,872,000 increase in assessed value is projected to produce $802,000 in tax revenue to help cover costs of the roughly $148 million town and school budget for 2019-20 that officials are currently working on.
To the dollar, the increase is $28,872,351, pushing what is officially the grand list of Oct. 1, 2018, to $4,840.327,336 and producing $802,073 in revenue, according to town Assessor Al Garzi.
The bulk of the increase came in real estate, which is also by the far the largest category in the grand list. 
The town’s 9,763 real estate properties are now valued at $4,481,990,860, an increase of $21,062,523 from the last grand list.
“The real estate portion of the grand list increased due to the final phase of 77 Sunset Lane condominiums being completed, as well as many increased density projects in town moving towards completion,” Garzi said. 
Also contributing to the real estate growth were remodeling projects and additions to a large number houses, a few new single family homes being built, and two new commercial buildings under construction on Old Quarry Road, according to Garzi.
The 21,415 motor vehicles in town have an assessed value of $252,224,551, up $2,844,875 from the previous grand list — although there are slightly fewer vehicles.
“The motor vehicle portion of the grand list saw it’s vehicle count go from 21,547 to 21,415, a loss of 132 vehicles,” Garzi said. “This area, however, increased in market value by an estimated $20,000,000 as a result of vehicle owners trading up to newer vehicles.”
The 1,415 accounts in the “personal property” category of the grand list — which actually represents business equipment, not jewelery and art work as the name might suggest — is valued at $106,102,925. That’s an increase of $4,955,953. 
However, that $4.9-million increase in the list is actually considerably less than the value of new growth in town. That’s because there’s a 10% depreciation applied to the value of all personal property carried forward from the previous year, and that loss must be made up by the new growth before it shows up as an increase.
“The personal property portion of the grand list grew by some $27 million in new equipment purchases and new accounts added,” Garzi said. “This resulted in an increase to this part of the Grand List by some $4,955,953.”
There were 723 tax-exempt properties totaling $516,523,775 in value. The tax exemption on these properties reduced the town’s potential revenue by some $14,349,030 or 2.98 mills.