Senior citizen newcomers to Nashua filed an abatement on their 2016 residential property assessment believing the assessment unfair. The City denied it. The couple appealed to the Board of Tax and Land Appeals (BTLA) and lost the decision.
The folks did not understand the NH appeal process and did not present the required evidence to win the appeal. However, the BTLA kept the door open and would not rule in favor of the city on several points.
With the release of the 2018 assessments, once again, the couple believed the assessment, set at $535,000 was incorrect. The property owner filed a 2018 abatement and determined the market value should be $485,000. Once again, the board of Assessors denies their abatement. An appeal was filed to the BTLA.
During this time, the BTLA ordered the City of Nashua to a hearing and opened a docket to “investigate concerns regarding the legality and proportionality of the City’s assessments. The Board’s concerns arise, in part, from a property tax appeal: Corazzini v. City of Nashua, BTLA docket No. 28712-16PT (September 13, 2018)…” This is the property issue of this article.
The legal office paid Horizon Associates to provide a written appraisal for this property. The appraiser determined that the market value was $495,000 very close to Corazzini’s abatement market value of $485,000. The assessment should be $463,000, not $535,000. This would reduce the property tax bill by over $1500.
The assessors, according to written office policy, are to mediate and negotiate residential property appeals. This light-duty work does not require the use of City Attorneys. However, Attorney Bolton and Attorney Leonard snagged this appeal, harassing the elderly couple, ensuring they would not be treated fairly. The attorneys repeatedly demanded entry to the home for an inspection, an unprecedented request not required by law. The couple refused entry to the City Attorneys. When the couple was called in to mediate, the city did not disclose the paid appraisal.
The couple was unaware that their market value was very close to the appraiser’s market value. Attorney Bolton was not willing to correct the property to fair value. Instead, he hoodwinked the elderly couple, keeping the property over-assessed and pocketing $1000 of their fair refund. The assessment is now at $510,000 rather than $463,000.
Attorney Bolton’s win at any cost mentality is unethical, has no place in determining property equity, and wastes taxpayer dollars. Most seniors on fixed incomes watch their money closely. Gaming 80-year-old people on their tax bills is not cause to celebrate.
We just finished a busy campaign season where the Mayor championed a charter change believing the Police Department needed to be under his control and subject to his personal agenda. Fortunately, this failed. Given the Mayor’s personal agenda to sic attorneys on citizens, perhaps we should focus on a campaign to reduce funding to the Nashua legal office and closely consider the powers given to our Mayor.