Sunday, May 17, 2009

Rell signs reval bill

By RONALD DEROSA/Register Citizen Staff

HARTFORD — Gov. M. Jodi Rell signed a bill Friday that will allow municipalities to delay the implementation of their property revaluations until 2011.

The S.B. 997, which passed the State House of Representatives this week and the State Senate last week, was co-sponsored by two Torrington-area legislators, state Sen. Kevin Witkos, R-8, and state Rep. Michelle Cook, D-65. Torrington was one of a few cities in the state — along with Washington, Woodbury and Monroe — that has received an overwhelming amount of complaints against Waterbury-based Total Valuation, who completed the full physical revaluation as required by law this year. The towns have been seeking a way to delay having to hand the results in to the state.

"I’m glad the governor moved on it as quickly as she did," Cook said.
With the passing of the legislation — titled An Act Concerning A Municipal Option To Delay Revaluation — the city has the option to completely delay implementing the revaluation until 2011, beginning July 1. The move gives Torrington the option to throw out the 2008 data collected by Total Valuation, instead relying on figures from the 2007 computer-based revaluation, said Mayor Ryan Bingham.

"We’re clearly going to have to redo it, sooner than later," Cook said. "But I think that’s for (the city) to work out at the city level. They know more about which would be best to go."
From the Torrington perspective, the city still is withholding $100,000 from Total Valuation as sanction for not meeting deadlines, and the Board of Assessment Appeals is still going through some 1,400 appeals filed in recent months.

The city is now having Corporation Counsel Ernestine Weaver review the new legislation due to an amendment added that allows for regionalizing, Bingham said. Also, the city still waits formal notification from the state Office of Policy and Management regarding a request for a one-year postponement, the mayor said.

If OPM allows for the postponement, then the city can get through all the necessary appeals and use all of the information gathered in 2008 for 2009’s Grand List, Bingham said.
The vote comes down, however, to City Council on how it wants proceed, he said. Should the council decide it does not want to use the 2008 numbers at all, then the city can wait until 2011 to do the process all over again, Bingham said.

"We would have to notify OPM as a courtesy because they would have to put our municipality on the list for 2011," the mayor said. "They would keep track of when our revaluations are due. We wouldn’t need their permission to throw at the numbers, now that S.B. 997 is passed and signed by the governor."

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