We Hope Souter Has The 'Constitution' For This...

Good old RSA 39:3 - 25 signatures and your citizens petitioned warrant article trots off to the selectmen for inclusion in the annual warrant. Don’t you love Town Meetings!

I would say we have met that hurdle in the case of creating a “Constitution Park” at the Souter residence on Cilley Rd. in Weare. Thank your Gary Hopper for getting the signatures! There will of course be a little time lag in the process since petitions get accepted officially next year but we are patient taxpayers.

With that time we can explore what will be needed in the way of donated funds to offset any expenses the Weare taxpayers would have had to pay for the eminent domain proceedings to take the property for the Constitution Park. One simply worded capital reserve fund should do it. We are working on it.

So far it looks quite cheap as Mr. Souters 8.08 acres is assessed at only $27,000, in 1999 value, set by, Avitar, the firm that assesses property for Weare. The whole property is assessed at $108,100, colonial home and all. This makes me think that we are doing the Town of Weare a favor taking this property off the tax rolls. It barely brings in enough revenue to bother with the paperwork.

The Coalition of New Hampshire Taxpayers is the only organization in the state looking into the way property is assessed town to town by the different assessing firms. We sit in during Board of Tax and Land Appeal hearings where some firms have been shown to be “more than lax” with DRA Administrative Rule 603. (You can get a free booklet from The BTLA about assessments but for some reason it stops at rule 500 – surprise!)

Oh it all sounds boring until you get a handle on how the process works AND CAN PUT IN TERMS ANYONE CAN UNDERSTAND! Here is a sample or two:

Our activists in Lancaster had a problem with the new property revaluation in their town. The Lancaster boys filed a complaint with the BTLA against the Town’s assessing firm Earls, Nieder, and Perkins citing several problems such as lack of enough information from the firm for a taxpayer to file an appeal, and the sticky wicket of how the company came up with the values they did.

The BTLA just ruled about a week ago that the ENP assessment was “ok” even though the current “Coefficient of Dispersions” (real sales after the re-val as compared to the new assessed values) is slightly higher than the previous assessment. Our figures show the COD is off now more than before the re-val! Our figures also show the COD is still above the limit at which the state can order a new re-val. Thank you BTLA for protecting taxpayers.

I filed a Right To Know case in Hillsborough Superior North last October against my town for failing for four months to give me a copy of Avitar’s state required assessment manual for the re-val they are doing “to” us. I had to go to two court hearings to get the damn thing and what do we find? Avitar never bothered in their 109 page manual to show how they came up with the required basic rate for homes in my town. It stands to reason that if you are setting a value for every house in town you should have some way of explaining how you came up with a way of doing it. That makes my manual worth ?

A few months ago the firm of Nyberg and Purvis was ordered by the BTLA to re-post a new performance bond and go back to Winchester and fix problems there. CNHT sat in on that hearing and Saturday Night Live should have the tapes of that company’s representative “explaining” what went wrong. Here is a sample question from Board member: “Mr. Nyberg where you aware that when you were asked to come to this hearing today you would be required to answer questions?”

In any case, our little taxpayer organization would like to vent about how the property tax is “administered” in NH. And venting on a statewide or even national scale seems like a good way to go for us simple folk. So finding out that Mr. Souter’s colonial home and 8.08 acres is assessed at just a tad more than any two mobile homes in any given trailer park appears to be a nice starting point.

Ed Naile
Coalition of NH Taxpayers