August 16, 2017
Now that budgets and Mill Rates are set for the year, let’s take a look at how Fairfield stacks up against other Fairfield County towns. Fairfield has the 6th lowest Mill Rate in Fairfield County. We come in after the big four – Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan and Westport. Shelton also has a Mill Rate just a little lower than ours. I have listed a selection of towns in Fairfield County and their Mill Rates below.
Fairfield has one of the lowest Mill Rates in Fairfield County and the State.
For Greenwich, New Canaan, Darien and Westport, their common attribute is much higher property values (see below, data current as of 8/9/2017).
Median Home Value (in millions)
The higher Average Price of a home in these towns is what drives a higher Grand List Value per capita. This means more Grand List value per resident to pay for town services. These towns are able to spend more on Town services per resident than Fairfield does, yet have a lower Mill Rate. Their lower Mill Rate is driven by higher home values, not by spending less.
When you look at the last twenty years, these towns haven’t managed their expenses better than Fairfield. They are not more efficient in providing town services. In fact, their town expenses as a percentage of total budget have increased more than ours. Those towns are experiencing the benefit of growing their Grand List values more than our town.
It is clear that Fairfield needs to focus on growing our Grand List–the list of all taxable property in Town including Residential property, Commercial property, Motor Vehicles and Personal property. This is the best possible way to minimize tax rate increases and maintain our quality of life.
We must set a goal of strategic growth that will meet our town’s needs today and in the future while maintaining our Town’s character and charm.
Thank you for taking the time to read this perspective,