Finance board OKs revaluation, parking redesign funds
WESTPORT — The process for the town’s five-year revaluation will begin soon.
The Board of Finance unanimously approved an appropriation of $410,000 for the 2020 revaluation of Westport properties at its meeting Wednesday night.
Paul Friia, the town’s tax assessor, said the state mandated revaluation will include an exterior viewing of 1,100 properties, and the initial work will begin within the next month.
“The majority of the property inspections were already completed during the 2015 revaluation, which was at a cost of approximately $634,000,” he said.
Three bid amounts were received for the revaluation: Vision Government Solutions for $187,000, Municipal Evaluation Services for $224,000 and Tyler Technologies for $367,000. In an effort to maintain consistency, Friia recommended Vision Government Solutions.
“Vision has successfully performed the last three revaluations in Westport,” he said. “They work very well with the assessor’s office and taxpayers.”
In addition to the cost for Vision, Friia said the funds will support any defense of appraisals and other services associated with the revaluation.
Vision will start giving values in November 2020, and hearings for appeals will start toward the end of 2020. New tax bills will then go out in July 1, 2021.
“We had about 3 percent go to the Board of Appeals in 2015,” Friia said. “We only had about 40 to 45 lawsuits go to court.”
The majority of these lawsuits were commercial, he said, and 12 of these appeals were withdrawn. Friia said he will keep the town site updated to keep residents in the know of the process.
BOF Vice Chairman Michael Rea said a big part of the success in any revaluation deals with the public’s access to information to understand the process.
“The educational part is really important,” he said.
In other business, the board unanimously approved an appropriation of $608,740 from the Railroad Parking Reserve Expense Account for the redesign and construction of the Franklin street parking area and adjacent lot 7.
Deputy Police Chief Sam Arciola said the construction will improve parking spaces, lighting, pedestrian safety and add cameras to the area. The estimated completion date for the project is the first week of October.