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The Rossi Property and Your Taxes

By Bob McGarry, Haddam First Selectman

(February 22, 2024) — What does selling the Rossi property mean to you? Not what does it mean to revitalizing Higganum Center or to encouraging business growth there, but what does it mean to you? The short answer: it helps with your property tax bill. Let’s look at how.

The proposed Rossi sale requires the developer to meet two financial conditions. He has to pay $250,000 and invest at least $3,000,000 in the property. The $250,000, frankly, doesn’t do much for you. It’s nice to get, but it’s a one-time payment.

The $3,000,000 investment is a different story. The value of the buildings and other improvements that come from it are added to the Grand List, the total value of taxable property in town. Our mill rate is determined by dividing our annual budget by the Grand List. As the Grand List increases, the mill rate decreases. Mill rate multiplied by your property’s assessed value equals your tax bill. This is a high-level explanation; it would take paragraphs to include all the details.

The bottom line is developing the Rossi property spreads the tax burden a little farther. I’m not saying your taxes will go down, there are too many other factors at play, e.g., how much money we get from the state for roads and schools. What I am saying is your tax bill each year will be less if the Rossi property is developed than your bill will be if it isn’t.

The development will produce a secondary tax benefit as well. The tax appraisal of your house is based on its physical attributes, e.g., how many bedrooms, how much property, location, etc. Most business properties aren’t appraised that way. Rather, they’re appraised based on the income they produce. So, if their sales (income) go up, their property taxes go up.

Developing the Rossi property, including apartments, a new restaurant and seven new commercial businesses, will bring more people into Higganum Center and increase economic activity. That will increase sales at the local businesses and a stronger economy in the Center, which will increase values and the amount of taxes paid. Another benefit of a stronger economic climate is an increase in the number of jobs in the Center. These are smaller benefits and harder to quantify, but benefits nonetheless, particularly if it’s someone in your family who has an opportunity to work right here in town.

My previous articles on selling the Rossi property explained the benefits to the town. In this article, I wanted to point out a direct benefit to you. Thanks for taking the time to read it. Please come out and vote on March 5, 2024.

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