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Waitsfield loses six tax appeals

 {mosimage}
 Gregory Viens, Fayston, made the rounds of local cemeteries, and the field of white flags for soldiers fallen in Iraq over the long weekend playing Taps in honor of Memorial Day. Here he plays at the South Fayston Cemetery on Bragg Hill in a Confederate Civil War uniform with a period trumpet. Photo: Lisa Loomis

05/31/2007

By Lisa Loomis

The Waitsfield Select Board will discuss the town's recent loss of six tax appeals at its next meeting on June 4. In each appeal, the town's appraisal was rejected by the state appraiser.

These six losses resulted in a decrease in property valuation totaling $415,000.

Over the past month, the town has received the decisions of six of some two dozen appeals which stemmed from the town's 2006 reappraisal. After the reappraisal, 50 property owners appealed their new appraisals to the town's board of civil authority (BCA). The BCA reviewed the appeals from last July through January. Of those 50 appeals, about two dozen were taken to the next level, to the Vermont State Appraiser.

Vermont State Appraiser Merle Van Giesen issued these six decisions in April and May. In each he found that the town could not provide evidence justifying the appraisals it set for the properties in question. In four of the six appeals, the town's BCA upheld the original appraised values set by the listers. In two instances, the BCA reduced the 2006 appraised values.

One such case was the Historic Waitsfield House on the corner of Bridge Street and Route 100. It is owned by Nicholas Harmon. He purchased the property in July 2003 for $305,000. The listers appraised it at $598,300 in 2006, which he grieved to the BCA. The BCA reduced the appraisal to $511,000. Van Giesen further reduced that value to $410,000.

Joe and Maggie Grant's commercial building on Route 100 in Irasville, where they operate a physical therapy business, was originally appraised at $652,100 by the listers. The BCA reduced that to $627,100 and Van Giesen dropped it to $523,900. The Grants purchased the building in July 2005 for $530,000.

Nicholas Harmon also appealed the town appraisal for his home. The listers appraised the house at $639,800 which the BCA upheld. Van Giesen concluded that the fair market value for the property should be $503,700. The Harmons purchased the property in August 2003 for $472,000.

Jim and Jackie Leyton appealed the town's appraisal of their home, which the listers valued at $523,600 and the BCA upheld. Van Giesen found the fair market value of the property to be $510,000.

James Garilli appealed the town's appraisal of $157,000 for the property where he runs Mill Brook Imports. The BCA upheld the listers' valuation, but Van Giesen found that the fair market value should be $121,100.

Finally, Brenda Shea appealed the appraised value of her home, which the listers and BCA set at $487,200. Van Giesen found the correct appraisal to be $462,400.

The BCA heard 50 grievances which were elevated to the BCA after property owners grieved their 2006 appraisals to the town listers last month. The town of Waitsfield completed a town-wide reappraisal late last spring and mailed out notices of new property values to property owners. The first part of the grieving process involved 200 property owners coming before the listers. Of those 200 original grievers, 50 continued to the next phase of the process.

The town's justices of the peace, select board and town clerk make up the BCA.

Contact Lisa Loomis at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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