Board of Selectmen Meeting Minutes & Agendas

Oct 13, 2015

Board of Assessors Minutes Oct 13, 2015


TOWN OF LITTLETON
BOARD OF ASSESSORS MEETING
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2015
3:30 PM
TOWN OFFICE CONFERENCE ROOM

Present: Town Manager Andrew Dorsett, Chairman Marghie Seymour, v. Chairman Milton T. Bratz, Selectman Schuyler Sweet, Executive Secretary Ceil Stubbings

Others Present: Joe Lessard (MRI), Amy Hatfield (Tax Collector).

Seymour called the Board of Selectmen meeting to order at 3:28 PM.

Joe Lessard said he was looking to see if the Board would approve some of the exemptions that were on a spreadsheet he had provided listing the agencies that have had exemptions in the past. Lessard’s recommendation was to approve all of the religious agencies with the exception of the Daughters of Charity. Lessard said that all of the agencies in his recommendation has been getting the exemption in the past. Lessard said they all need to be reviewed annually. Bratz made the motion to approve the exemptions for the agencies who already have established their PILOTS. Sweet seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0.

Bratz made the motion to approve the exemption for the agencies who have already paid their PILOT’s. Sweet seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0.

Lessard aid the American Legion and the VFW should also be approved for the exemption. Sweet moved they be granted the exemption for the year. Bratz seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0.

Lessard then went through a meeting summary he had provided to the Board. This exercise should take care of all of the other ones. The first one he reviewed was the Alderbrook Association. He had sent the Board some information on them. They don’t like their assessment as stated on their cover letter. They want to meet with the Town Manager, the Tax Collector and the owner, (not sure if they mean MRI or KRT) and the organizations attorney. Their proposal calls for a one year renewable PILOT agreement with a 2015 payment of $500. Lessard said they are an organization that he does not feel are entitled to an exemption. In 2014 they claimed they were exempt but they were going to file a current use application if they were found not to be exempt. Seymour asked how much they would pay if they put everything in current use. With 54 acres in current use their taxes might be under $1,000. Their taxes would go from $3,200 down to $2,100. They would save themselves about $1,000 a year by putting it under current use. Seymour made the motion to not approve the exemption. Sweet seconded the motion. Motion to deny the exemption passed 3-0.

Lessard then went over Ammonoosuc Community Health. They had submitted various documents as to why they should not pay anything. They ended up bringing in a check for $8,100. Lessard said he would recommend we continue their exemption and send them a big thank you. Bratz asked if this has to be approved every year. Lessard said they need to set something in place so that they are asked every year. Seymour asked if there was a problem in accepting a donation and not a PILOT payment. Lessard said that the board is granting them an exemption. Lessard said there is a provision for someone who claims they are entitled to an exemption. Lessard went on to say that they provided way more charitable services than any other agency. Lessard said there are two ways to get money, one is a donation and the other to ask for a voluntary payment in lieu of taxes. Amy Hatfield asked what happens when they accept the payment. She does the PILOT bills on her system. It comes out on her MS-61 and then it goes onto the MS-1 as a PILOT. Lessard said the payment should go to the finance office and be posted to the general fund. Stubbings noted that they would have to hold a public hearing because the amount is over the $5,000 threshold to accept unanticipated funds. Seymour and Bratz said we should find out if we are doing this right. Bratz made the motion to grant Ammonoosuc Community Health the exemption for this year. Sweet seconded the motion. The motion passed 3-0.

Lessard then reviewed the Boy Scouts of America. The agency feels they should be exempt. Seymour said that a lot of people think that because they didn’t pay in previous years that they should be grandfathered. The board of selectmen have a responsibility to review these every year and grant or deny the exemptions. Seymour said it is 53 acres that is barely used. Maybe they can think of more ways the use of the land can benefit the Town. They state the land is only used 35 to 36 days a year. They also chose not to put the land in current use. Lessard said they were going to consider putting it under current use. Sweet moved they not grant them an exemption. Bratz seconded the motion. The motion to deny the exemption passed 3-0.

The next agency reviewed was the Center for New Beginnings. Lessard said they don’t think they should have to pay taxes. They have a scholarship program paid through grant monies for those who are unable to pay. They also have received funding from a Town Warrant Article. Lessard said the real issue is, does the service they provide meet the definition of charitable. He would not have a problem if they were granted the extension for another year provided they give us more information that we have asked for. Sweet said that a lot of the so called nonprofits have support from the NH Charitable Association of operation support. Sweet made the motion to not grant them the exemption. Bratz seconded the motion. Motion to deny the exemption passed 3-0.

Lessard moved onto Child & Family Services for review. Lessard stated that they did not want to do a PILOT payment either. They offered to pay $1,000 as a donation. Sweet asked how much their taxes would be. Lessard said that at the reduced amount it would be $1,700. Sweet made the motion to deny the exemption.
Bratz seconded the motion. Motion to deny passed 3-0.

Lessard then moved onto the Daughters of Charity. Lessard said he received an edited version of the draft PILOT agreement. The edits were related to wording and the amount remained the same as recommended by the Town. Lessard said they put in a value of $306,000. That is not the correct amount. That was last year’s value. KRT has come up with $180,900 for the valuation. That will be about 40% of what they expected to pay.
Sweet moved to grant the exemption and to accept the payment in lieu of taxes. Bratz seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0.

The board briefly discussed the Community Center and determined they should be granted the exemption. Seymour made the motion to grant the exemption. Sweet seconded the motion. The motion passed 3-0.

Lessard then moved onto the Littleton Building Association. Lessard said they offered a $2,500 PILOT payment. The board is considering abating all but the $2,500 for the 2014 year. They agreed to a PILOT for $3,050 for 2015 and $3,600 for 2016. Sweet made the motion to abate all but $2,500 of the 2014 taxes and grant the exemption for 2015 and make an agreement for 2015 and 2016.

Lessard moved onto North Country Home Health and Hospice. Andrew Dorsett and Lessard met with the agency this morning. He had requested information from them on their charity policy. He did not receive it instead he was given their community benefit report. They have a board meeting on the 28th of the month. They also receive $21,500 from a Town petitioned warrant article for which the amount has not changed for the past two years. Andrew said they also made a policy change to not bill people who need care to stay at home. They let people know that they would take donations instead. Sweet made the motion to deny the exemption. Bratz seconded the motion. Motion to deny the exemption passed 3-0.

Lessard then moved onto Shallow River. Lessard said he met with them and talked to them about making a PILOT payment. They said they do not provide for any PILOT payments for their offices. But for their group home they offered to make a payment. They believe because of a court case that showed they charge less than they are charged so they feel they are exempt. Lessard’s opinion is to give them the exemption this year and get an attorney’s opinion. Sweet made the motion to approve the exemption for this year and get a legal opinion for next year. Bratz seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0.

Amy Hatfield said she bills a flat rate for Shallow River in the amount of $1,500 not the $2,100 as listed on the spread sheet. Hatfield said it has been an agreement for some time. Lessard said it was a good question but he could not give her an answer. Hatfield asked if we should leave it at the $1,500. Seymour said to leave it at $1,500 for now.

Lessard then asked the board to review The Children’s House. They are the only one who are asking for an educational exemption. They say they are exempt because they have a Montessori Preschool and they have a curricula. Sweet moved to deny the exemption. Bratz seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0.

Lessard said letters would be sent to the agencies regarding their denied exemptions.

Lessard advised the utility numbers were now in. He suggested the board use the new numbers for now and file the MS-1. If there is an abatement that needs to be done, then you make the abatement.

Sweet made the motion to adjourn. Bratz seconded the motion. The motion passed 3-0. The meeting adjourned at 4:35 PM.