By Muriel Bristol | July 31, 2018
The Milton Board of Selectmen (BOS) have posted their agenda for a Non-Public BOS meeting to be held next Monday, August 6, at 4:00 PM. The agenda has two items: a Non-Public matter classed as 91-A:3 II (c) and another matter classed as 91-A:3 II (d).
91-A:3 II (c): Matters which, if discussed in public, would likely affect adversely the reputation of any person, other than a member of the public body itself, unless such person requests an open meeting. This exemption shall extend to any application for assistance or tax abatement or waiver of a fee, fine, or other levy, if based on inability to pay or poverty of the applicant.
91-A:3 II (d): Consideration of the acquisition, sale, or lease of real or personal property which, if discussed in public, would likely benefit a party or parties whose interests are adverse to those of the general community.
The first matter relates to the recent tax abatement process. In November, the BOS made an error in setting the 2017 tax rate. It affected all of the taxpayers, i.e., about 2,700 taxpayers, to a large degree. Various figures have been given. In December, the BOS suggested that those affected should file for abatements.
This would be case of apples and oranges. Abatements are intended to resolve errors in particular property assessments or to address the personal circumstances of particular taxpayers. For this purpose, the town typically allocates or holds back a very small percentage – less than 1% – for abatements. (They had allocated only $20,000 to cover all abatements). The BOS’s very large town-wide rate error could not possibly be corrected through granting a few abatements.
The difference between the BOS error and their proposed “solution” is separated by several orders of magnitude. The BOS may or may not have known that back in December, but they surely do know it now.
Only 56 taxpayers filed for the suggested abatement. Of those, 39 (69.6%) received abatements, while 17 (30.4%) were rejected. This Non-Public matter before the BOS is likely an appeal by one of the 17 whose abatement was rejected.
The second matter relates to the buying, selling, or leasing of property. Several property matters have been in the wind over the last few months. The sale of the old fire station, acquisition of conservation land, and the proposed purchase of parking spaces have been much discussed lately.
The BOS intend to adjourn their Non-Public BOS meeting by 5:00 PM. Their prior public meeting was held on Monday, July 16. Their next public Meeting is scheduled for Monday, August 20.
Town of Milton. (2018, July 31). BOS Non-Public Agenda, August 6, 2018. Retrieved from www.miltonnh-us.com/bos_agendas.php
State of New Hampshire. (2018, February). Revised Statutes Amended Online. Retrieved from gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/indexes/default.html