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I know quite a few people affected by this. The assessor decided to dramatically increase the valuation of land in the "town center" district, in some cases more than doubling the tax liability for homeowners........
article from Seacoastonline.com
Property owners disgruntled
Irked by the town's delay in their appeal to assessments
STRATHAM — While the town's goal of responding to abatement requests by July 1 has long passed, there are still about 20 residents waiting to hear the assessor's official ruling regarding their property's value.
By Alexis Macarchuk
September 03, 2010 2:00 AM
Two of those residents attended Monday night's Board of Selectmen's meeting, where they were told their cases would not be reviewed in time for the Sept. 1 deadline to file an appeal with the New Hampshire Board of Tax and Law Appeals (BTLA).
Although the town has not finished reviewing their cases, Town Administrator Paul Deschaine advised the disgruntled residents to pay the $65 fee to file with the BTLA to avoid waiving their right to do so after the appeal deadline passes.
"I think it's ludicrous that I should have to pay $65 about a claim that I don't even know if I have to make," said Ron Deane of 3 Chase Lane, who attended Monday's meeting and is disputing a $97,000 increase in his property assessment.
Bart Rzepa, who owns Rzepa Family Chiropractic on Portsmouth Avenue, also came to the meeting because he was told that the assessor might be present to answer questions.
Town assessor and full-time town employee Andrea Lewy has been out on sick leave since the beginning of August; she normally comes before the board to approve abatements on the last Monday of the month.
Deschaine said the town's responses have been delayed due to her unexpected absence, combined with a "major computer crash" and an increased number of abatements.
Last year marked the first time the town has done property revaluations since 2003. Deschaine said Lewy and her assistant have been sorting through between 120 and 150 abatements since December. He noted that a non-revaluation year normally yields 30 to 50 abatements; in 2003, the number of abatements was about twice this year's load.
"It can be a demanding process, especially during a revaluation year," Deschaine said. "The town truly does want to get it done with so we can move on to the next tax year."
Rzepa and Deane said they are both unhappy with the town's lack of communication regarding their abatements.
"I think the very least they could have done is sent out a notification. If I'm one of 20 that would have cost them less than $10 to mail out a letter," Deane said after the meeting.
Rzepa already filed with the BTLA in August, before the Sept. 1 deadline. He plans to dispute the town's system for valuating commercial properties because he believes it's unfair that the first acre of a commercial property is valued at $700,000 while each subsequent acre is valued at less.
"Each usable acre should be worth the same amount of money," he said, noting that his business is a little more than one acre and is valued at $1 million.
Rzepa also believes the town should hire a consultant to administer revaluations because a full-time employee may have a bias towards the town.
"I feel there is a conflict of interest here," he said.
According to Deschaine, the town does not hire outside sources in an effort to keep costs low.
Rzepa and Deane also claim the town is one year behind the state's five-year revaluation requirement. Deschaine said there was confusion about whether the town was required to do a revaluation during or after the fifth year.
"It seems like they forgot to do the revaluation last year and they're late this year. It's a shame," Rzepa said.
At Monday night's meeting, Chairman David Canada told Rzepa and Deane, "Our only goal is to get your adjustment correct. It doesn't matter if it's up or down. We haven't denied you."
A guide to the NH Seacoast, heavy on the Real Estate. I hope to include information about short sales, foreclosures, auctions, taxes, properties, waterfront, retirement communities together with community information, events and reviews.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.