Lister Jerry Osler said Wilmington Listers met with a state adviser recently, who advised that they begin planning for a reappraisal. Osler said the state mandates a reappraisal when a municipality’s coefficient of dispersion” reaches 20% or their CLA falls to 80%.
“Right now, our coefficent of dispersion is at 18.01%,” Osler said.
The coefficent of dispersion is a measure of the deviation between the selling prices of properties and the average townwide appraisal.
Listers said that property sales at Haystack and the Hermitage have been the biggest factor in pushing up the COD. Osler said listers were advised that the cost of a reappraisal by an outside firm would be about $100 per parcel, or a total of up to $310,000 for Wilmington.
But listers advised against hiring an outside firm.
“The five board members have agreed we could do the reappraisal right here in town,” Osler said. “Brian (DeCesare) was planning to leave, but said he could stay on to help us out. How much can we save the town? It’s hard to come up with the numbers right now. The first thing we have to do is decide on which software we’ll use.”
Selectboard chair Tom Fitzgerald asked if listers would need all of the funding in the first year. “Over two years,” Osler said.
DeCesare said listers have done a lot of work to keep the grand list up-to-date, but that many of the houses have been upgraded over the 10 years since the last appraisal. He said listers would seek to inspect the interiors of houses for the next appraisal. But DeCesare also noted that Haystack properties were where the most change in selling prices has been. “Four years ago, the grand list increased by $20 million,” he said. “Then the following year, it went up $20 million again. The next year it went up $30 million. Last year it went up by another $20 million. That’s not happening in any other resort town that I’m aware of. At Stratton and Okemo they’re seeing prices coming down and not seeing development.”
Not only are high-end properties being built and sold in the Haystack area, DeCesare said, older properties are increasing in price, and some are being improved. “There are some that have sold for double what we had them appraised for. Five years ago, you couldn’t give them away, and now they’re selling for $400,000 to be knocked down to build something else.”
But DeCesare said it wasn’t just Haystack, there’s a townwide increase in higher-end properties. “If you look at the construction over the last four years, there have been houses built that we’ve never seen before, and I’ve been appraising properties in this town for 43 years now. Places with 4,500 to 5,000 square feet of exceptional construction. We’re seeing an evolution in the market here, and the only thing I see different here is the Hermitage. I don’t know what else it can be.”
Listers told board members they would need about $100,000 in fiscal year 2019 for the appraisal, and the rest in fiscal year 2020. According to Wilmington Finance Officer Christine Richter, the listers will be able to kick off their work with about $40,000 in current funding. Another $50,000 is already included in the fiscal year 2019 budget, leaving an additional $50,000 to be raised.
Board members decided to add an article to the Town Meeting warning asking voters to put the $50,000 into a capital fund, so that any unused money can be used during the following fiscal year.