WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — During the COVID-19 pandemic, realtors say Waterbury saw an influx of out-of-state residents, particularly from New York.
“It’s just a huge influx of New York buyers here in Connecticut,” said Dave Jones, owner of Dave Jones Realty. “The real estate market has never been this hot for sellers.”
While it’s creating big business in the real estate industry, it’s also contributing to the rise of out-of-state license plates that residents are noticing on the streets and in neighborhoods. That’s led to concerns by some longtime Waterbury residents that those with out-of-state plates are not paying taxes they should to the city.
Some of those concerns were voiced at Monday night’s virtual Board of Aldermen meeting.
“People are taking advantage of us,” said Martin Spring, president of the Waterville Community Club. “And as a taxpayer, I’m appalled because people should be paying their fair share of taxes.”
Earlier this week, the Board of Aldermen voted for a new city ordinance that will allow police to issue $250 fines to residents caught with out-of-state plates after living in Connecticut for more than 90 days. Alderman George Noujaim explained to News 8 the fines will begin next month.
“We’ve gotten a lot of phone calls from constituents watching their neighbors come and having their vehicles stay with out-of-state plates.”
News 8 met one man on The Waterbury Green Tuesday who told us he has friends from out of state who moved to Waterbury. They have yet to register their cars in Connecticut.
“They can’t register their cars in Waterbury because taxes are too high. They said they owe back taxes,” he said.
This is not a new issue in Waterbury. But, Alderman Noujaim explained why now was a good time to address this and take action.
“It has to go through the state legislature first before the city can adopt it so now that that had passed [in this most recent legislative session], we were one of the first cities to adopt an ordinance,” he said.
Alderman Noujaim welcomes the influx of new city residents but he hopes they take care of the necessary paperwork with their vehicles.
Realtor Jones agrees.
“It’s obviously costing these towns a lot of money when these people move in and forget to update their paperwork,” Jones said. “So the fact that they’re putting some weight behind it with a fine will probably get more people to remember a little better to go get done what they need to get done.”