I am passing along this email from one of our CNHT activists in Nottingham, Eugene Reed. Gene has some experience in assessing and has exposed the problem in Nottingham with the Avitar Assessing Company and their magical assessing software.
Local Nottingham activists are tired of the failure of the State of NH to come up with understandable standards for assessing property along with some sort of remedy for assessing firms that do not supply data that backs up their figures.
Just as town would hold any other contractor liable for shoddy or nonexistent work so should assessing firms be held to a standard.
This scenario is playing out all over NH. In Nottingham there will be a Special Meeting called by petition to address it.
Good job Gene!
To some of you, this scenario is a recurring assessing nightmare..
- 1. Lakefront property singled out for a special assessment not backed up by complete documentation.
- 2. 327 properties surveyed by boat for features in ONE DAY! (Dept. Revenue Admin. says "That's not uncommon.")
- 3. DRA - No help.... again.
- 4. Selectmen with their heads.......in the sand..
- 5. Avitar fumbling with public relations, common sense, basic math, bad data, and the elusive market value...
- 6. Many taxpayer protests, some informal hearings, and then, whoops, a "minor" adjustment, a few stokes of the computer keys, and there goes $7.7 MILLION dollars of "new" property value. (Down from $28 million of "new" market value) (Do the math and figure the error rate! for a job Avitar and the Selectmen considered done.)
Now, apply that (sampling) error rate to uncontested properties!! (Sounds like Sanbornton, "throw em a bone, maybe they will just go away.") Doesn't generate much faith in this statistical process!!!
So, the folks from Pawtuckaway Lake (250 strong and smart enough to document errors.) petitioned for a "Special Town Meeting".. The articles are included below with notes... Please notice that one of the articles provides for the Town to create assessing standards. In-as-much as the ASB refuses to address the issue of standards and the DRA refuses to provide critical oversight, Nottingham may be the first town in this state to set policies, procedures, and (Assessors shudder here!) standards! (if adopted)
All are welcome at this meeting, of course you cannot vote unless a registered voter of Nottingham. However, with the permission of the registered people presenttaxpayers, you may speak. (My sense is that you would be allowed.)
See www.pawtuckawaylake.org for the gory details... (details are not available on Town website)
Please forward this to all those that may be interested, including media types....
Nottingham elementary school (Stage Road)
9AM Saturday December 15 9AM
Come early or come late, but show up for a morning of some organized angry taxpayers taking on the failed assessing process and those that try to defend it. (Or as the Commissioner says, "there are some out there trying to sell snake oil". Simply a public "misunderstanding".)
Your comments are welcome,
( Merry Christmas..!! & Happy New Year )
Special Town Meeting (by Taxpayer Petition)
December 15, 2007
- Article # 1: To see if the Town will vote to direct the Board of Selectmen to immediately withdraw the recent assessments of Pawtuckaway lakefront property from the tax records.
- Article # 2: To see if the Town will vote to direct the Board of Selectmen to certify to the State of New Hampshire only those assessments that would have been certified by the assessment before the reassessment.
While it is true that the selectmen can ignore our vote on Articles 1 & 2, it is important for the citizens of Nottingham to demonstrate their displeasure with the methods and processes that have been used to value our properties. Flawed appraisal methods force citizens into a lengthy and expensive abatement process. Hiding building value in the land assessment creates opportunity for abuse in the future. Yearly additions of undocumented site specific adjustments inflate property values Property valuations that are not based on property size and frontage are wrong
- Article # 3: To see if the Town will vote to direct the Board of Selectmen to release Avitar from its contract at the earliest possible moment.
- Avitar breached their revaluation contract with the town.
- Avitar provided incomplete and inaccurate information to the State.
- Avitar was arrogant and evasive to citizens in the public informal hearings.
- Avitar's "creative" appraisal techniques over valued property
- Avitar's poor or non-existent documentation provides citizens no ability to appeal highly subjective site adjustments
- Avitar's one day site inspection by boat of 327 properties created $8 million in errors that the town would have certified if residents had not demanded informal public hearings
- Article # 4: To see if the Town will vote to direct the Board of Selectmen to retain new appraisers to perform an analysis to determine whether any discrepancies exist.
- Article # 5: To see if the Town will vote to direct the Board of Selectmen to receive and consider all pertinent evidence from all affected parties relative to the need for reassessment and the methods to be used in any reassessment.
- Article # 6: To see if the Town will vote to direct the Board of Selectmen to adopt uniform assessment methods and criteria to be used for evaluations of all property within the Town's borders. Since there are no appraising standards at the State level, we demand that the Town of Nottingham establish our own fair and equitable appraising standards.
- There should be no flat rate premiums applied to land values.
- There should be no undocumented value adjustments.
- There should be no subjective value adjustments that cannot be substantiated or appealed based on some measurable standard.
- There should be informal public hearings held after EVERY revaluation.
- If our selectmen do not want to learn enough about appraising to provide oversight to the process, elect a Board of Assessors as they do in other towns.