I try to be very careful about telling someone they don't qualify, even when
I am quite sure they do not. I usually show them the language in the law
and let them draw their own conclusions.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Heidi Racht" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, June 06, 2012 9:16 AM
Subject: abatements - thank you and two more questions
> 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
> spelled out?
> 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 Racht
> 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