Author: Susan

Senior Tax Credit

by Susan Winters

The town of Redding offers two tax benefits for seniors: the Local Senior Benefit and the State Homeowners Tax Credit. The Local Senior Benefit is a tax credit offered to Seniors who have met the following criteria:

  • Are 65 years of age.
  • Have lived in town for three years prior to receiving the benefit and have paid real estate taxes.
  • Maintain the legal residence/domicile in Redding and occupy their home at least 183 days per year.

For more information on this benefit and the CT State benefit, please click here.

Redding Tax Assessor John Ford has provided the following information: Out of 3118 total households in Redding, 755 use this credit. The benefit is calculated at 20% of the average residential assessment multiplied by the mil rate.  Last year the benefit amount was $2,504, so each of the 755 received the same credit no matter what their income or tax amount.

Efforts were made to make some revisions to the ordinance just a few years ago.  The proposed changes were turned down at a town meeting. The committee studying the benefit at the time decided not to propose a means test.

Budget increase impact

by Susan Winters

If the proposed budget passes on May 8, will my taxes go up 9.34%? *

Yes, they will go up but most Redding homeowners won’t be paying 9.34% more than they paid this current fiscal year. Why not? Because chances are the value of your home went down.

According to this chart prepared by Board of Finance Member Jamie Barickman, 20% of Redding’s homes have gone down in value by -8.2% (60% have gone down between 1.2% and 4.7%.) These are the homes valued at over $485,000. The bottom 20% of homes have actually increased in value by 1.8%

What does that mean to you?

If you’re like me, all of these numbers start to run together and it begins to sound like blah blah blah. It took a village to help me understand this, so hopefully I can break it down to where the average Redding homeowner can understand it too. (Thanks to Kim Yonkers, Charlie Landau, Jenifer Wyss and Michael Thompson for the explanations and help. Also, thanks to my friends on Facebook who tried to teach me math!)

First thing to understand is the “mill rate.” A mill is equal to $1.00 of tax for each $1,000 of assessment. To calculate the property tax, multiply the assessment of the property by the mill rate and divide by 1,000. For example, a property with an assessed value of $50,000 located in a municipality with a mill rate of 20 mills would have a property tax bill of $1,000 per year.

The mill goes up or down depending on the voter approved budget. The mill rate in Redding has not had a huge change since 2013-14.

In our case, the mill rate is probably going up but your assessed property value most likely went down.  Even those whose property stayed flat or increased will still pay more.

A home that was 500,000 was paying  $14,810 according to the old mill rate of 29.62.  If the mill rate did not go up and that house went down 8.2%, it would now be valued at 459,000 and their tax would be 13,595.58 which would be a tax savings of $1214.42

If this budget is approved and our taxes go up 9.34% to the new mill rate of 32.385, then they would be paying $14864.72. Although they are only paying less than $55 more than the year before, its because their house is now valued at $41,000 less than this year.

If their home wasn’t reevaluated, their tax bill would be $16,192.50

On the other end of the scale, a home that was worth $250,000 is paying $7405 at the current mill of 29.62

The house re evaluated at +1.8%, which would make the home value $254,500 and with a flat mill rate, the tax would be $7538 which is a difference of $133 more than this year.

If the house was not reassessed, the amount they pay with the new mill rate would be 8098.25. which is $693.25 more than this year.

The new mill rate and the new assessment would bring the payment to 8241.98, which is an increase of $836.98

So, what does that all mean?

With most of the reassessments going down, the dollar amount you are paying may not seem to be that much different but take into account the new reduced value of your home.

You can find your property information here.

Or, you can go to townofreddingct.org and click on Government and then Finance and Taxes and then Assessor. Scroll down to other links for Assessor Field Cards and click (search by name, address, Acct #)

Find your property: Search by name, address or acct.
At the very top you will see your 2017 appraisal and assessed value (70 of appraisal)  Do the math: assessed value multiplied by the proposed new rate of 32.385 and divide by 1000. That’s your estimated tax for this year. (The same mill rate will be applied to vehicles and taxable business/personal property.)

Also, read through the proposed budget that will soon be available on townofreddingct.org. Make a decision on your support and then go vote on May 8. Every vote counts!

* Even if the budget passes as presented, the Board of Finance will have to set the mill rate. They have other options to lessen a 9.34% increase like depleting our town’s fund balance but that won’t be decided until after the referendum. This article makes assumptions based on a new mill rate calculated on the passed budget.

RES OMers Compete

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
― Maya Angelou
On Saturday, March 17, several teams of RES students will join kids from around the state to compete in Odyssey of the Mind State Finals at Southern Connecticut State University.Odyssey of the Mind (OM) is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Team members apply their creativity to solve problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics.

There is a rich history of Redding students from RES, JRMS and JBHS participating in O M. Several teams have gone on to the world finals. RES teacher Matt Farina took over the helm of local participation after Francine LaMonica retired.

Each team is required to do almost every aspect on their own without “Outside Help” from parents and coaches. This includes building props, sewing costumes, painting sets, writing the scripts and solving the problem presented by the Odyssey of the Mind organization.

An exception for adult involvement is, of course, driving the students to procure their materials and to the competition. Judges are always watching when the team arrives at the school to make sure only the students unload the materials. Officials have been known to circulate in the bathrooms and waiting areas to ensure that the students are doing all preparation such as hair and makeup on their own.

Their budget must be strictly followed and documented. Even items like the clothes worn from home while in the presentations are given a value.

Christine Schwartz and Trang Stuart are coaching a team of first time competitors ranging from first to fourth grades. The team consists of Miley, Lilia, Keaton and Chloe – all in third grade, Olivia who is a fourth grader, and Jacob in second grade. They call themselves the “Redding Color Squad.”

The Color Squad chose Triathlon Travels as their challenge. In this problem, the teams will ride on and drive an original vehicle in an Odyssey-style triathlon. They will try to score in “curling,” hit the right targets when “jousting,” and “run track” by navigating a course in two directions. Between these events, the team will entertain the audience and the vehicle will change appearance. All of the action will take place in a team-created performance that features the vehicles’ triathlon travels, a commentator, and a coach.

The other problems presented this year are called: Emoji, Speak for Yourself; Classics… Mockumentary! Seriously?; Animal House; A Stellar Hangout with a Primary (K-2) problem called We’re Cooking Now

Christine and Trang are very proud of their team. Christine said, “Students learned about the brainstorming process, took democratic votes on each decision, and worked together to make it all happen. The kids learned how to use a power drill, how to cut PVC pipes and wood with a saw, discovered the wonders of zip-ties, made costumes and most of all learned how to become a unified and supportive team.”

“Spontaneous” is a part of the competition where team members get to think on their feet and outside of the box. The teams drill constantly to learn the critical skills needed for Spontaneous; but they won’t hear the problem until they enter the room.

The nature of these problems vary and could be Verbal, Hands-on or combined. Teams who have already completed the question are sworn to secrecy until the day is over so as not to provide an unfair advantage to the teams that come after them.

In between competing, the students have the opportunity to visit the science labs at SCSU. The day culminates in an awards ceremony. Two teams from each Division (grade level) and Problem go on to World Finals in Iowa in the spring.

Good luck to all the Redding teams!

The Redding Color Squad getting ready for Triathlon Travels
Olivia, Keaton, Jacob, Lilia, Miley, and Chloe.