MIDDLETOWN – The average Middletown homeowner would pay about $500 more per year despite a tax rate cut in Mayor Ben Florsheim’s budget plan, after the city’s grand list grew by over $1 billion from property revaluations.
In a budget address Monday, the mayor said he was proposing to cut the city’s mill rate from 35.7 to 28.3, which would increase its revenue by about $7.4 million over last year. However, Florsheim wrote, the revaluation will shift more of the property tax burden onto homeowners, as the values of single-family homes in the city increased almost twice as much as commercial real estate values.
If approved by the Common Council, the budget would mark the end of three consecutive years without a property tax increase in Middletown.
“This is tough news to deliver, and I don’t take it lightly. Even though there are many obvious
benefits to rising property values, to individual homeowners and to the local tax base alike,” Florsheim wrote. “And even though the mill rate is moving in the right direction as we look ahead to the next ten years, it still means that many homeowners will take a hit on their property tax bill this year.”
Florsheim explained that revaluation will shift more of the property tax burden onto homeowners, as the values of single family homes in the city increased almost twice as much as commercial real estate values.
The average home value in Middletown is now $290,000, translating to an annual property tax of about $8,200 at the proposed mill rate of 28.3 – a $500 increase to the average property tax bill from last year, he said.
Cities and towns are required to assess all residential and commercial properties every 10 years, and spiking home values have left homeowners across the state facing property tax increases.
Florsheim said the last revaluation came in 2012 in the aftermath of the 2008 recession, and last year’s revaluation came in the wake of a “massive surge” in home values, leading to the spike in home values in particular.
Florsheim could not be reached for additional comment on Monday.
Last week, the Board of Education approved Superintendent Alberto Vazquez Matos’ proposed $98.6 million budget for Middletown Public Schools, an increase of 3.85 percent from last year. Florsheim proposed a $232 million budget for city services, an increase of about 3 percent from last year’s budget.
Both budgets need approval from the Common Council, which is scheduled to hear presentations from city departments during workshops on April 10, 11 and 17. A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for 6 p.m. on April 18.