The buzz among Worcester business owners this week has been all about new property value numbers coming from the city, which increase the assessed value of more than half of commercial properties by at least 20 percent.
The city numbers, which also show significant increases for most industrial properties, but decreases for the majority apartment buildings and mixed use developments, are part of a triennial revaluation. In a letter to city councilors, City Manager Michael O'Brien wrote that the new numbers are part of an extensive process that discovered major inconsistencies in the way property values had been assigned in the past.
O'Brien wrote that past practices included "manual overrides" of data by assessors and properties being improperly tagged as obsolete, which is supposed to refer to physical characteristics of a building itself but was apparently applied for other reasons like negative economic conditions. O'Brien emphasized that the new values are based on multiple reviews and work with third-party consultants, a process that has drawn out the time spent arriving at the new numbers.
Altogether, 83 percent of commercial properties and 77 percent of industrial parcels saw valuation increases, while the assessments for 61 percent of mixed-use properties, 76 percent of small apartment buildings and 60 percent of large apartment buildings declined.
The city will hold an information session for property owners to discuss their individual situations with assessors on Monday, May 7 from 3:30 to 7 p.m. at Saint Spyridon Cathedral on Russell Street.
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