The Republicans were shocked to learn of Governor Malloy’s latest proposal to cut over $20 million in
state grant funding to Southington. Southington is a balanced community where citizens pay federal,
state and local taxes and in return would like to benefit from those dollars. Southington has a very
tightly controlled local spending and taxes and has grown the healthiest reserve fund balance in history.
Now we are placed in the penalty box as Connecticut’s contribution to education & programs in
Southington will be diverted elsewhere, especially to cities that have failed to adapt to the times and
prosper. We remain confident that Republican leadership is best suited to react to this situation and
then proactively help resolve the problems in the state. Why? Because Republicans will take a business
approach, leave all options open, collaborate with anyone willing and able to help, and develop a sound
plan to address the real issues for the long term.
One of the roles of the Board of Finance is to set the mill rate. The mill rate, which in conjunction with assessed property values, determines the amount of tax a property owner will pay. All the property in town is listed and assigned a value. This list is called the grand list. It is made up of all the land, buildings, vehicles, and commercial property existing in Southington. Values are assigned by performing an assessment for real property and applying standards for vehicles, and by other valuation methods for business property. The grand list is always made up of various aspects of quantity (The number of assets) and price (The value of the assets). If you construct a new house or buy a new car, quantity is added. So each year we can expect the grand list to increase for new construction, new equipment and new vehicles and decrease for existing vehicles that typically decrease in value annually with age. This year we will experience revaluation of the values on the grand list. The town is mandated to reassess values every five years so new values are being applied this year. At this time I will not speculate on whether values will increase or decrease on an overall net grand list basis. It is always likely that some properties will increase while others decrease based on the market demand that drives the market value. It is too soon to speculate on the overall net impact of the revaluation in Southington. If the net grand list goes down the mill rate will go up to generate the same amount of tax and conversely. The intention of revaluing the grand list is not to increase taxes. The intention is to apply a current market value assessment to the property. Once values are established, taxes are levied on the total grand list and the owners of property are required to pay their proportionate share. Therefore revaluation is performed to ensure property owners are paying their fair share of the taxes required by the town. Questions can arise when the revaluation causes some tax payers to pay more, and some to pay less and others to pay the same amount. As an example let’s assume there was a grand list with only 3 houses, each assessed at $100,000 so the total grand list is $300,000. The town needed $7,200 per year to provide services so the mill rate was set at 24. Each person paid the same tax of $2,400. Then along came revaluation. Mr. A’s house increased to $110,000, Mrs. B’s house stayed the same $100,000 and Mr. C’s house dropped to $80,000. The grand list is now $290,000. The town still needs $7,200 per year to operate so the mill rate was reset to 24.82 mills. Now A pays $2,731 and B pays $2,483 and C pays $1,986 all totaling the same $7,200 in tax. Folks need to understand that valuation or revaluation is never intended to generate more tax revenue. Valuation is performed to set the basis of who will pay what percentage of the tax revenue needed by the town. In a completely separate budget process the town determines how much money is needed from tax revenue.
John Leary has served on the Southington Board of Finance since 2009 and currently serves as Board Chairman. He is a Republican.
We have just come off of an election season in Southington that gave the Republican party a strong approval rating for all of the work and initiatives that we have completed over the last several years. I would like to thank the voters of Southington for the strong support that they showed us on Election Day and assure them that we will continue to do great things for the citizens of this incredible community.
We will continue to focus on energy savings initiatives such as solar power and cost saving equipment upgrades for our mechanical systems. We have engaged a commodities manager to oversee our purchases of gas, electric, oil and fuel in keeping with our tradition of massive cost reduction on all energy fronts.
The voters gave a strong thumbs up for land preservation and the Republican team will continue to have that on our front burner for the next two years. We currently have land savings initiatives in progress and will unveil them at the appropriate time. Our residents have grown to appreciate what the town has done to preserve some of the character farms and woodlands across all areas within our borders. Open space is not just about the land, but it is also about quality of life.
On the economic development front, this team will continue to support any and all efforts to fill our industrial and commercial spaces with quality industry and jobs. We have seen unprecedented growth in our existing professional office complexes and are currently working with other corporations who see Southington as a strategic location to grow their networks.
Schools and economic development go hand in hand which is why, here in Southington, Republicans continue to put our school system at the top of our high priority list. We believe that great schools create a great community and make people and companies want to move here. It is all about balanced growth and tax structure. We believe that with our attractive schools, we can generate new tax revenue from business and industry that will allow us to relieve the burden on our seniors and homeowners.
I am excited to be working with an incredible team of highly qualified individuals both on the elected and staff side of our local government. We have had great progress over the last several years and we will all be working together for the foreseeable future to continue that progress. Thank you for being a part of it!
Town Council Chairman