BRISTOL - The cityâ€™s tax base experienced minimal growth in 2017, according to this yearâ€™s Grand List.
The list grew roughly $6.1 million for the year, representing a 0.16 percent increase. The value of all taxable property in the city is now $3.917 billion.
â€śThe $6 million growth represents $220,000 in added revenue based on the current mill rate at 36.03. In talking about this with the assessor, we are looking forward to an uptick in commercial construction,â€ť Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu said. â€śWhile growth is incremental, we are happy to see it, and will continue working with existing and potential businesses and projects.â€ť
The assessed value of real estate grew an average of 0.49 percent, or about $15.7 million in 2017.
That increase was primarily due to the revaluation of properties the city performed that year, according to City Assessor Tom DeNoto. Before then, the last revaluation was in 2012.
Meanwhile, the assessed value of motor vehicles decreased 0.56 percent, or $2.1 million in 2017, after seeing a 3.7 percent increase the year before, DeNoto said.
The city used a tax rate of 32 mills for motor vehicle taxes in 2017, DeNoto said. The state caps the mill rate on motor vehicle taxes at 37 mills. Therefore, if the city adopted the 5 mill increase, it could represent about $1.8 million in revenue, he explained.
The assessed value of personal property decreased 2.44 percent, or $7.4 million, which is common, according to DeNoto.
In 2016, many city companies had â€śretooled,â€ť or reorganized, which caused an increase of about 12 percent in personal property values in January 2017, DeNoto explained. â€śBut with the retool component, there is generally some type of drop off,â€ť he said.
â€śWith minimal Grand List growth, the city needs to take a hard look at where the revenue is coming in,â€ť DeNoto said.
For example, the cityâ€™s apartment market is strong with a high occupancy rate, making apartment rental units an attractive investment right now, DeNoto said.
â€śThe apartment component of the Grand List went up 6.25 percent (in 2017),â€ť he said. â€śThe market is definitely responding to demand. Thereâ€™s plenty of demand in the city for rental units. We are seeing many pieces of older stock being rehabilitated.â€ť
Commercial development on Route 72 could also help grow the tax base, DeNoto added.
â€śThat corridor, with tens of thousands of cars a day, can obviously support more commercial development,â€ť he said. â€śThose are positive growth components that the city has. Many areas can be debilitated with new uses.â€ť
Zoppo-Sassu said, â€śRecent good commercial transactions along the easternmost portion of Route 6 indicate some future promise.â€ť
Among those future projects are the new healthcare clinic at the former Frankieâ€™s and 1235 Farmington Avenue, a post-foreclosure purchase forecasting potential new retail, Zoppo-Sassu said.
She also cited the redevelopment of Oâ€™Connell and Bingham Schools into apartments, and the one residential subdivision extension off Old Orchard Road with the potential development of newly constructed mid-$200,000 to low-$300,000 single-family homes, as future promises.
ESPN was once again the cityâ€™s highest taxpayer in 2017, with a total net assessment of $218,205,850. It has held that position since 2007.
Eversource was the cityâ€™s second highest taxpayer with a total net assessment of $61,328,340. It has held that position since 2014.
Covanta was the cityâ€™s third highest taxpayer with a total net assessment of $33,993,170. It has held that position for three years.
The following seven taxpayers on the list, in order from highest to lowest, are, Bristol Center LLC, Bristol Sports DST, Federal Realty Investment Trust, Lake Compounce, Carpenter Realty Company, Dâ€™Amato Construction and its affiliated LLCs, and Yankee Gas Service Company.
Lorenzo Burgio can be reached at 860-801-5088 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org