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Board of Finance Approves $700,000 Reval Funding

The Westport Board of Finance Tuesday night approved $700,000 to conduct a physical revaluation of Westport homes and businesses.

Before the 6-0 vote, the town’s new tax assessor, William Gaffney, assured members that he would personally oversee the work of the firm chosen for the job and was putting his reputation on the line.

“If this performance is unacceptable to the citizens of this town, that is my performance,” he said.

Two firms have submitted bids for the work, both under the approved amount.

Board chair Steve Ezzes said he expected the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) to reduce the amount when it takes up the matter at its Aug. 3 meeting depending on which firm is selected.

Gaffney said conducting the physical revaluation would be a very public process with public meetings held to explain to residents how it would be carried out.

“All along the way, you will be informed,” he said.

Westport decided to conduct the physical reval after the state approved legislation allowing the town to postpone its revaluation for up to three years.

First Selectwoman Diane G. Farrell announced March 4 that she would seek to postpone the reval because of discovery of a backlog of 1,700 building permits that had not been added to the tax rolls going back to 1998.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, board members said the town will be sending out in the next few days bid specifications to hire a firm to review the town’s procedures in order to avoid a repetition of the backlog problem.

Meanwhile, it was learned that letters were being sent out today to 1,200 homeowners informing them that they will be receiving an additional tax bill as a result of processing of the backlog of building permits.

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