Thanks to all who responded to my email about abatements.
I will suggest to the BCA members that they schedule three meetings times
per year for the Board of Abatement and then hold the requests until the
meetings, unless there is a fire. Thankfully, we don't have many of these.
I should add that two of the requests this year were for fires. One was
made by the Town Clerk for the property owner, who was very pleased to
have an advocate in our office and to get a nice thing done for him by the
town - he wasn't expecting it at all and was totally focused on removing
the rubble and building a new house. It was a joy to be able to tell him
that he was getting a refund of taxes (paid by the escrow).
Now, for the first time, we have received requests for abatement on the
interest and penalty for late final payment. If someone insists on coming
in, do we hear them anyway, despite pointing out that there is no
abatement of just the "add-ons?" I am referencing the publication put out
by Deb Markowitz and did send a rather long email to the last person about
it, hoping that she (requesting on behalf of her father who is in his 80s
and suffering from memory lapses and forgot to pay the bill and never
missed a payment in 50-plus years) will not want to come in. Can the Town
Clerk simply tell someone no on the interest and penalties since it is
Final question - does anyone have minimum amount for the BOA to meet? One
of the requests considered on Monday night was for one quarter of the tax
year on a burned down garage. The total was $23.66 tax, 1.89 penalty and
.24 interest. I'm not advocating not hearing someone's request but am
curious as to what other towns do, so I can report to the BOA.
Thanks, again, for your insights. You are always so helpful.
Heidi, in South Burlington we will call abatement meetings as needed.
> Our board has decided that if a person has a fire or some other severe
> hardship that they think qualifies them for an abatement that we would
> not make them wait up to one year to get their abatement heard and
> answered. So when I receive them I notify the chair of the board and we
> look at our schedules. If we have a BCA meeting coming up we will put
> the abatement meeting first and follow with the bca meeting after. This
> saves the board from having to come out to yet another meeting on a
> different night and saves the city money (per my board) by only paying
> for one meeting not two. There are instances that due to the timing of
> the abatement request that they may have to wait 2 months to have their
> hearing but we always try to put ourselves in their shoes and would we,
> if we were facing hardship, be able to wait up to one year to have this
> settled. Plus it gives the city enough notice that the taxes being
> collected is reduced and they can act accordingly.
> Donna Kinville
> City of South Burlington