Burlington mobile homes reappraised incorrectly; city fixing the mistake

Published: Apr. 21, 2021 at 11:32 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 22, 2021 at 7:20 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The city of Burlington says there was a mistake made when reappraising mobile homes in the city. It led some owners to have major sticker shock this week when they received their reappraisal letters which showed some units valued at $100,000 more than the true value.

“We called and complained about it because we were afraid we were going to pay taxes on that kind of money,” said Henry Sweetser, who lives in the North Avenue Co-Op.

“The trailer itself is worth $9,100 and they doubled it, $18,200. I almost fell out of the chair when I read it,” said Rik Fenton, who has lived at the co-op for 49 years.

Residents at the North Avenue Co-Op knew something was wrong when they opened their letters. On the city assessor’s website, some of these homes are valued at much more than they are worth. City Assessor John Vickery says the vendor they contract with used the wrong metric to value the homes.

“It’s not a difficult fix, but that multiplier was applied to all mobile homes, so all of them need to be reassessed and that’s what we are going to be doing,” Vickery said.

Because it has been so long since the last reappraisal, many can expect their home prices to go up because of the citywide reassessment.

“The market has changed significantly and that’s why there’s a big adjustment from the prior values to the new values,” Vickery said.

He encourages everyone to take a look at the document they are sent and make sure everything is correct, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms.

“At this time this is the process where the public gets involved. Homeowners need to take a look at their assessment, review the data on it and let us know if there’s a concern,” Vickery said.

The reappraisal is done periodically to make housing prices more equitable throughout the city for the tax base.

“Properties don’t appreciate at the same pace and the same rate over time. Condos don’t perform as well as single-family homes or industrial properties, so it’s a resetting for equitable purposes so the taxes that are paid are fair,” Vickery explained.

As for the mobile homes, they will be reappraised and owners should expect a letter with the brand new value around May 5 which is a relief to many.

“It’s going to work out, they gotta work something out because we can’t afford that kind of money. I don’t know about anyone else in here but I know I can’t and I know a lot of them can’t,” Sweetser said.

For more information on the reappraisal process click here.

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