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Fairfield's Property Tax Rate Rises 4 Percent

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Fairfield’s property tax bills are set to rise 4 percent this July after the Board of Finance set the town’s mill rate at 23.37 on Wednesday night for the 2012-13 fiscal year.

The Representative Town Meeting finalized Fairfield’s spending for the next fiscal year Tuesday night at about $272.3 million . The amount is about $9 million more than in 2011-12, or a 3.5 percent increase.

Before setting the mill rate, a group of Board of Finance members criticized the RTM’s decision to cut $850,000 from the town’s contingency fund. The move took about 0.13 mills off the town’s tax rate for next year. But the finance members said the decision posed too much risk to the town’s credit rating.

“I don’t know, going forward, what the answers are in terms of fiscal responsibility in terms of spending. I agree that’s a discussion that needs to be had,” said Vice Chairman Robert Bellitto Jr. “However, last night the RTM took out the one area that really couldn’t afford to be taken out.”

The rate approved Wednesday night is 0.9 mills higher than the current rate. That means that the average homeowner in Fairfield will see an increase of about $391 on his or her next annual tax bill, based on the median residential property value in town.

To calculate your tax rate, search for your address in the town’s tax records in the online database. Multiply the number listed under “assessed value” by 23.37 and divide by 1,000. For example, the average homeowner mentioned above has an assessed value of $435,000, according to Fiscal Officer Paul Hiller. The annual taxes on that property would be $10,696.

The person collecting the higher tax payments this year will also be a change for Fairfielders. Longtime tax collector Stan Gorzelany retired last month after 19 years on the job.

Cinda B. Buchter took over the tax collector’s post this week. Buchter had previously held the job in Derby and Bethany before coming to Fairfield on Monday.

“It is with great pleasure that I become the new tax collector for the town of Fairfield,” Buchter said in a statement. “I look forward to working with the taxpayers, the tax office staff, the administration and all the departments in Town Hall to help provide the best possible service to the taxpayers and to all residents of Fairfield.”

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