Warren reval: Residential values down 10 percent

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Warren homeowners will soon receive a letter in the mail informing them that most likely, their home's assessed value has changed. But take heed: Even if your home's value dropped, that doesn't mean your taxes will drop correspondingly.

"There's a little more to it than that," said Warren Tax Assessor Catherine Maisano.

Over the past several months, workers from Northeast Reval have been analyzing recent sales in Warren to assign new values to every property, commercial and residential, in town. It's called a statistical revaluation, and state law mandates that one be done every three years. Also taken into account are whether properties have had recent improvements, whether they are in more or less desirable neighborhoods, and other factors.

The ultimate purpose of the reval is to assign realistic market values to properties for the purpose of setting a tax base, or the total "value" of every property in town. That overall base is then used in conjunction with the town budget to determine a tax rate. Generally, assuming the town budget stays the same, a lower tax base will yield a higher tax rate; a higher tax base will yield a lower tax rate.

Though it is too early to tell how Warren fared in the reval process, Ms. Maisano said preliminary figures for residential property point to a town-wide drop in assessed residential value of about 10 percent. Commercial values have not yet been analyzed.

When residents receive their notices — they should be delivered by late March — they should not use the current tax rate to determine how much they'll pay in taxes this coming year. A new tax rate reflecting the reval won't be known until the new tax base is ratified, and a town budget for 2013-14 set.

Once the notices are delivered, town officials will set aside time at town hall so homeowners can speak to experts from Northeast Reval. They can also log on to the firm's website, www.nereval.com, to check values and learn the answers to common questions about the process, appeals and so forth.

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