The Town of Hartford went through the process of a town-wide revaluation of all real properties. This commenced in February 2016, was completed by July 1, 2017, and constituted the 2017 Grand List.
Thank you to all who assisted in this arduous process.
Thank you for the overwhelming support and cooperation you have given! It was not easy catching up with all of you and the rain, snow, and mud brought on another level of challenge.
Re-Inspection Program Started February 2016
Representatives from Vision Government Solutions of Northborough, Mass, the firm hired by the Town of Hartford, will perform a Town-wide property re-inspection program as part of the 2017 town-wide Revaluation. These inspections began in February 2016. This is a vital part of the process and will take approximately 10 months to complete.
The Data Collectors will carry photo identification and have a sign on their cars. A description of their cars and license plate numbers will be on file with the Hartford Police Department (295-9425) and the Assessor's Office. The Assessor suggests that homeowners request identification before granting anyone permission to enter their home or business.
During this process, Data Collectors will visit all residential and commercial properties to physically measure buildings (exterior only) and do an inspection of the interior and exterior and take one exterior photo. Building characteristics such as size, age, quality of construction, construction materials, improvements, story height, and condition are noted. To ensure a home or business is inspected, a homeowner or company representative must sign a property record card to verify the inspection. The entire process takes approximately 10 to 30 minutes depending on the complexity of the property.
The Assessor's Office appreciates your cooperation and assistance with this program. Data Collectors generally work between 9 am to 6 pm. Monday through Friday. There will be an initial attempt to enter a property; if no one is at the home or business on that occasion a letter will be sent to homeowners and business owners to call and schedule an appointment at their convenience.
Your cooperation is essential to have an accurate accounting of your property and equitable assessment throughout the community.
Feel free to contact our office if you have any questions, at 802-295-3077 or email us.
- What Is a 're-evaluation'?
A Re-evaluation is the process of performing all of the necessary Market Analysis and Valuation steps to determine accurate and equitable values for all properties within a municipality. The equalization of the values within the Town creates a fair distribution of the tax burden. The purpose of a Re-evaluation is not to raise taxes. The purpose is to create an equitable distribution of the tax load.
If you have any questions or concerns, please email us or call 802-295-3077.
- So what's next?
It's now time to analyze the data, keep reviewing the results, and finish up!
If you find anything on your parcel card that is incorrect, please contact our office at 802-295-3077. Corrections can be made without going to appeal.
'Accurate Data = a Good Grand List'
- Where do I find my new assessment?
Once the 'Notice of Change of Appraisal' is sent, you will be able to go online and view your new parcel card. The Assessor's office can correct anything you find amiss in your information before the Abstract Values are set.
The Abstract Values are what is filed with the town clerk as the official preliminary list. This begins the Grievance Process (see Appeals/Grievance for an overview of that process). Once the grievance hearings were completed, the updated Grand List values were set and filed with the town clerk. These values were utilized in the process to set and bill taxes.
- How will this affect my taxes?
Once the Grievance is completed, the values are set. The Grand List is filed with the town clerk and this becomes the Taxable Grand List. At that point (usually the beginning of July) the Grand List is sent to the Finance Office where the tax rates are set and tax liabilities are calculated and sent to the property owners of record as of April 1, 2018.
Grand List Value x.01 = taxable value x tax rate = tax liability
- When will the reappraisal begin?
The process is underway. The Town has engaged Vision Governmental Solutions to provide on-the-ground and in-the-neighborhood contacts with Town property owners.
- How will I know when someone is in my area?
The Lister's office will be updating the website of what area of town is being canvased. Look for the "Where are the Data Collectors this week?" on the 2017 Revaluation News page.
We will also be sending out a phone message a week or two before they are in your area through the Vermont Alert (VT-Alert) system. You can also call the office anytime to check 802-295-3077.
- How do I enroll in the VT-Alert system?
Enroll by filling in the required information. For more information see the FAQ for Vermont Alert.
- What can I expect of the inspection?
Your home will be visited by a representative of Vision Governmental Solutions. The VGS representative will take a photo of the front of your home and inspect the interior and exterior making note of the construction, quality and condition of your residence.
The VGS staff person will not be assessing your furniture, decorative elements, appliances or personal items that are not built-in, or any other removable elements.
- Will the VGS representative ask to come into my home? May I deny access?
The VGS representative will ask for your permission to enter your home to conduct an interior inspection to note the interior features of your home and their construction, quality and condition. You may deny the VGS representative access to your home.
We strongly encourage all residents to allow an interior inspection. It is vital in having accurate records to determine your assessment. However, if you deny access and later want to appeal the valuation, an interior inspection is required at that time and your appeal will not be considered without it.
If you choose not to admit the VGS representative, the VGS representative will appraise your home from a street view. There may still be an increase or decrease in the value of your property. Refusing entry does not mean that a new assessment will not occur.
- Will the VGS representative take photographs of the interior of my home?
The VGS representative will not photograph the interior of your home.
- How can I feel safe with a stranger in my home?
The Town of Hartford has received and reviewed background checks for all VGS representatives that were completed recently in connection with a VGS project for another town. In addition, VGS has conducted its own background checks on all of the representatives who will be visiting the homes in the Town and gathering data for the appraisals.
The VGS representatives will have two identification badges, one from the Town and one from VGS. All have been employed by VGS for more than 15 years. All of the representatives, with one exception, were on the staff who prepared the Town's reappraisal in 2007.
If you are concerned about someone in your neighborhood, you are encouraged to call the Hartford Police Department or the Town of Hartford Assessor's Office to verify that the person at your door legitimately represents VGS. Also ask to see BOTH forms of ID.
If you are concerned about being alone then we encourage you to invite a neighbor, a friend, or a family member to be with you during an interior inspection so that you might feel more secure.
- When will I learn about the new assessment value of my property?
As part of the revaluation process once all the values are estimated for the entire town, the values will be published for each property owner to review, in approximately May 2017.
- Who may I call if I have questions or additional concerns?
The Lister's office at the Town of Hartford. The number is 802-295-3077 or email us.
- What if I am unhappy with my taxes, can I grieve them with the Listers?
No. The assessed value is what is utilized to set your taxes. The tax rate is based on what is approved in March at the education and town meetings as the budgets. You need to vote!
- What if I have a hardship?
There are several reasons stated in the law that outline what is an acceptable hardship in order to qualify for property tax relief. (See VSA 24 § 1535. Abatement). You will need to contact the town clerk to apply.
- What if I disagree with the value resulting from the reappraisal?
First, review your entire property card. If there are any discrepancies, notify the Listers to correct the record. Second, if you still disagree with the assessment, you will need to make an appointment for a 'Grievance' hearing with the Listers.
More information about how to appeal and the time frame within which an appeal may be filed will be provided when the new appraised values are issued.