Norwalk has no plans to mitigate rising car taxes, officials say –

July 20, 2022 by No Comments

NORWALK — Rising car values over the past year have increased the property taxes on the vehicles, but city officials say they have no plans to alleviate that burden for residents.

Norwalk has previously used a significant portion of American Rescue Plan Act funds to avoid increasing the mill rate and provide overall tax relief. However, the city does not plan to expend any further funds to offset the increase in car values, tax assessor William Ford said Wednesday.

“Norwalk has already used $20 million to offset the tax levy over the last two years. No additional ARPA funds to offset anything further,” Ford said.

The city’s tax collector, Lisa Biagiarelli, told the Common Council Finance and Claims Committee last week that her office has received a number of calls from residents about the issue.

“One of our big issues has been, as I’m sure many of you have heard about it, the assessed value of motor vehicles relative to prior years,” Biagiarelli said. “This particular year is relatively high even though in the city of Norwalk our motor vehicle mill rate stayed the same last year to this year. For some individuals, their motor vehicle taxes actually went up even though their car is a year older.”

The increase in car values and subsequent rise in car taxes is a statewide issue, as aftereffects of the COVID-19 pandemic impact the market.

Residents of more than 70 municipalities in Connecticut expected lower car tax bills after a new cap on motor vehicle property taxes went into effect July 1, lowering it from 45 mills to 32.46 mills. In Norwalk, the motor vehicle mill rate was already below the new 32.46 mills cap.

“Between the assessor’s office and our office, we fielded quite a few phone calls and questions and inquiries about that, and we’ve done our best to explain why that is, but other than that, collection has been going fairly well,” Biagiarelli said.

Despite the increase in car values, Norwalk has a history of a high tax collection rate, according to city documents. By the end of June, Norwalk collected more than 99 percent of its taxes from residents, including about 95 percent of regular automobile taxes.

Higher car taxes do not result in more revenue for the city, rather the revenue is shifting from one tax stream to another, Ford said.

“Changes in assessed values do not actually increase the revenue to the city. Think of it as a giant pie and basically we are slicing up the pie as needed for revenue to come in,” Ford said last week. “The mill rate for motor vehicles remained the same, the mill rate for the real estate and personal property was minutely less because of the generated revenue from motor vehicles.”

The increase in car valuation is a result of a series of COVID-era changes, said Chris Collibee, communications director at the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management.

With a shortage of cars and car …….



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