Partial property appraisal planned

MANCHESTER- The town's listers plan to begin a partial residential reappraisal as soon as possible. This will be the first partial reappraisal of residential property values since a statistical update was conducted in 2008.

The last full reappraisal of the town's property values took place in 2005.

The concern is that residential property values are no longer as equitable as they should be, said Head Lister Pauline Moore.

"In the last four years 25 percent of our residents have come and grieved and we have lowered their properties. So we now have a pretty big inequity for the people that have not grieved to the people that have grieved. What we are looking to do for 2013 is to get back some of that inequity and get people on more of a level playing field," Moore said.

The town has been gathering property information over the past four years and believe this is the right time to do a partial reappraisal.

"We have properties that are now selling within 10 percent of the appraised value as well as above the appraised value," said Moore. "Its not as bad as it sounds, but what we have found is that there are certain clusters of homes that either went up very quickly in value and have now settled or properties that people bought but they couldn't keep and we had some foreclosures."

Moore made the case for the partial reappraisal during the town's select board meeting Tuesday night. The listers needed the select board to release about $20,000 out of a total of about $25,000 in state funds allocated annually for such purposes to fund the partial reappraisal. The money will be used to obtain some necessary computer equipment and software upgrades, she said.

The select board unanimously approved the request and the initiative.

All the work will be handled by the three member listers office and should not require any outside consultants or assistance, Moore said.

The town will not visit every single home, one by one, to get this appraisal done. Instead they will visit 10 percent of them - about 160, all told - of the residential properties and ensure the accuracy of the town's data. The town will also obtain information within the next week on all of the property sales that have taken place in the last three years - a total of 109 - which should be enough to figure out if it is a representative neighborhood.

"We are going to send out letters to about 160 residential property owners asking them to allow us to come visit their properties," said Moore. "We hope to conclude those visits within the next two months then spend the winter analyzing everything we've got and try to come up with some equality in the residential area."

Moore stressed that not all properties will see a reduction in value, and that some might even see an increase.

"I don't want everybody to think that all the properties are going to see a reduction because if you have already seen a reduction we are going to try and equalize everybody to the same level," Moore said. "Some people might actually see their property values go up because in some areas they have not had the same pressure on their property as other areas."

The plan is to start the partial reappraisal as soon as possible and the town hopes to be done sometime in March, she said.

In other business, the select board approved the construction of a brand new batting cage that will be placed on the third base side of the first field alongside the main drive into Dana L. Thompson Memorial Park. The batting cage will be a 12-foot by 12-foot building and will primarily be used for the youth baseball leagues.

This project comes off of a extremely successful season for Manchester Youth Baseball. The Manchester all-star team won the Cal Ripken Youth Baseball Vermont State Tournament, earning a ticket to the regionals.

Also during the meeting the selectboard approved a request from the Manchester and the Mountains Regional Chamber of Commerce to have another sidewalk sale during Columbus Day weekend, Oct. 4- 8. The Chamber received requests from local merchants for this sidewalk sale to offset the impact of construction work on the Roundabout that was taking place during the traditional August sidewalk sale weekend.

Berta Maginniss, the chamber's executive director, stressed that holding a second sidewalk sale that will not be done annually and is only happening because of the construction work.


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