Assessor’s Office

Reappraisal Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the purpose of the reappraisal?

The purpose is to ensure that every property taxpayer is paying their fair share, but not more than that, of property taxes. The State of Vermont uses this process to equalize education taxes statewide with the goal of having properties of equal value pay equal amounts of school taxes. 

 

2. What triggers a reappraisal?

Vermont municipalities must reappraise the properties in their town when the Common Level of Appraisal (CLA) falls below 85% or rises above 115%.  The CLA is a method of ensuring that each town is paying its fair share of education property tax to the state’s Education Fund.

 

3. What is the Common Level of Appraisal? 

The Common Level of Appraisal (CLA) Is a measure of how close a municipality's local appraisals are to teh actual Fair Market Value. The CLA is used to equalize education taxes statewide with the goal of having properties of equal value pay equal amounts of school taxes.  Vermont municipalities must reappraise the properties in their town when the CLA falls below 85% or rises above 115% (32 V.S.A. § 4041(a))

 

4. When was Burlington’s last reappraisal? 

2004-2005

 

5. Is the City of Burlington using this reappraisal to generate more revenue? 

No.  The City’s Charter mandates that this reappraisal will be revenue neutral for City government, meaning Burlington will collect the same amount of property taxes after the reappraisal as before the reappraisal. Think of the amount of taxes collected as a pie. A revaluation does not determine the size of the pie (the budget does this), but rather ensures the pie is cut up fairly - that taxes are fairly distributed based on current market values. Some people will owe more in taxes as a result of the reappraisal, but others will owe less, and overall the City will not see any change in revenue.

 

6. When will the FY22 tax rate be available so that I know what my tax bill will be?   

We are working to get to this to you as soon as possible but it likely won’t be ready until June. Your tax bill is actually made up of two separate components: the municipal portion and the education portion. In order to arrive at the municipal tax rate, the City needs to create its FY22 budget and finish the appeals for reappraisals.  The education tax rate comes from the State of Vermont. While the FY22 rate is under development, please see this tool that estimates the impact of the reappraisal on your taxes.

 

7. Do property owners have online access to the previous appraisal data in order to help understand trends with surrounding and similar properties?  

Yes. This information is available on the Assessor’s Property Record Card, which can be viewed and printed when property owners go to their property from the property database on the Assessor’s webpage.

 

8. What can I expect if I need a reappraisal appeal hearing?

These 15-minute meetings (held over phone or Zoom) will be conducted by Tyler Technologies and you may submit information supporting a different value. The information will be reviewed and a determination made on whether to change the value based on the information you present. You will be notified of the determination made following the completion of the taxpayer reviews.

 

9. How do I make sure that I have an appointment for a reappraisal appeal hearing?

You should have received a Zoom invitation or instructions for a phone meeting.  If you have not, please call Tyler Technologies at 1-877-895-9675 during business hours.

 

10. What if I don’t have access to a computer to fill out the online reappraisal appeal hearing form

Just call Tyler Technologies at 1-877-895-9675 and they will help you to fill out the form.

 

11. I filed a form online but don’t have an appointment scheduled yet.  What should I do? 

Please call Tyler Technologies at 1-877-895-9675 during business hours to schedule a 15-minute reappraisal appeal on Zoom or via phone.

 

12. Do I have to conduct my reappraisal appeal hearing on Zoom? 

No, if you do not have reliable internet access or prefer a phone meeting, that is an option as well. We are not conducting in-person hearings due to the ongoing pandemic.

 

13. What is the deadline for filing for a reappraisal appeal hearing?

April 30, 2021 at 4:00pm.

 

14. What is the methodology for the reappraisal?  Did the process involve any sales comparison data?

The main methodology for evaluating residential property values is the cost approach. The cost approach method estimates the probable selling price by calculating how much it would cost to provide a replacement building of similar condition, quality and utility.  The market approach (also called the sales comparison approach) has been set up as a secondary method to valuation. 

 

12. How are property values calculated?  What are these based on?  

The property values are based on major factors that influence the market including location, building site, type of building, square footage, finished area, quality, condition and amenities. The property values for residential properties were evaluated using the cost approach. This approach calculates the probable selling price by estimating how much it would cost to provide a replacement building of similar condition, quality, and utility.

 

13. Why does it seem like inflation for some high-priced properties or in high-priced neighborhoods seems to be proportionally lower than in other areas? 

As this is the first reappraisal since 2005, some areas have appreciated more than others in this time period. In addition, in recent years the City already conducted targeted reassessments of many waterfront properties and multi-family rental properties because it was clear that these types of properties were appreciating much faster than other Burlington properties (meaning that these properties so big valuation increases years ago, and had more modest further adjustments this time). 

Property values are based on the cost approach, which calculates the probable selling price by estimating how much it would cost to provide a replacement building of similar condition, quality and utility. 

Also remember that in a reappraisal we are not adding tax revenue to the City rather ensuring that taxes are fairly distributed based on current market values. Some people will owe more in taxes as a result of the reappraisal, but others will owe less, and overall the City will not see any change in revenue.

 

14. Have the reappraised values been tested against actual sales taking place in the market over the last 12 months?  

Yes, Tyler Tech has run multiple tests throughout the reappraisal project. The State of Vermont Tax Department will run additional tests at the end of the reappraisal to ensure equity. The purpose of the reappraisal is to ensure a municipality’s local appraisals are close to the actual Fair Market Value. 

 

15. What is the market approach to valuation?  Did the City use it? 

Yes. The market approach estimates a property’s value by examining recently sold properties that are similar in size and features that are located within a close geographic proximity to the property being valued. This is the secondary approach to valuation we used for evaluating residential properties.

 

16. What is the cost approach to valuation?  Did the City use it? 

Yes. The cost approach calculates the probable selling price by estimating how much it would cost to provide a replacement building of similar condition, quality and utility.  This is the primary approach to valuation we used for evaluating residential properties.

 

17. Were any properties visited by inspection staff? It appears that this was done entirely without any site visits.

All commercial properties received an inspection. For residential properties, many properties received an in-person exterior inspection, and many video inspections for the interior were conducted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

18. Does Tyler Technologies, the City’s reappraisal partner, have any knowledge of the local market in terms of property value variation by neighborhood?  

Tyler Technologies, is based in York, Maine, and has been performing reappraisals for 80 years in 46 states, including 26 state capitals, constantly tailoring operations to meet the needs of their clients.  Their job is finding out everything they can about Chittenden County and they have spent the past two years studying and preparing for this reappraisal.  They have partnered with Burlington before and are currently working with South Burlington on their reappraisal as well.

 

19. How much of the City budget is funded by property taxes?

In Vermont, property tax is the primary source of revenue for local government entities and property taxes represent approximately 50% of all City of Burlington operating revenues. Other sources such as gross receipts, local option tax, and fees for service make up the remaining 50%.

 

20. How long does the reappraisal process take?

The City is nearing the end of a two and a half-year long process.  Find out more here.

 

 

21. Why was Tyler Technologies Inc. selected to conduct this reappraisal project?  

The RFP to conduct the citywide reappraisal project was advertised to all the reappraisal companies whom are on the VT Tax department's approved list. Additionally, we advertised through the trade organization and VLCT.

Four companies placed a bid for the project. One company declined after the initial proposal. Tyler Tech reappraisal division was awarded because they were able to provide us with the best team of specialist whom would be directly assigned to this project, the company has more resources than the other vendors, and the project supervisor worked on the 2005 Burlington reappraisal project. 

The basis of our decision was made because of the depth of experience of reappraisal division of Tyler Tech, and the Tyler team that would be assigned to this reappraisal.

This project was able to have one of the most experienced mass appraisal market modelers in New England. The senior project supervisor comes with 41 years in the industry. 35 of those years specializing in market modeling for reappraisal projects. He built the residential valuation tables for Burlington home valuations. He has been the senior market modeler on 5 reappraisal projects in Hartford CT., 3 reappraisals in Providence RI., 2 reappraisals in Portland ME., and recently Fulton County, Atlanta GA.