Lakefront owners sue again over taxes in Ossipee
The lawsuit — headed up by landowners Roland Cherwek and James Fitzpatrick, and joined by 60 others — is similar to the one filed for the 2010 property tax year. The plaintiffs'; claim is that the land-base shorefront property values are over-assessed in comparison with other parts of Center Ossipee and that the calculations used to figure the rate do not include all the property sales transactions. The town of Ossipee';s tax assessor and select board have denied, either in full or in part, the taxpayers'; request for abatement.
Attorney Amy Manzelli of BCM Environmental and Land Law in Concord filed the latest lawsuit Aug. 31 in Carroll County Superior Court. Manzelli has filed a request asking the New Hampshire Supreme Court to classify the first lawsuit as a class-action suit.
Manzelli writes that it would be impractical for each individual property owner to file separate suits.
';The petitioning class members believe that damages for each individual are relatively small, making it economically unfeasible to pursue remedies other than as a class,'; the request states.
The owners claim in the lawsuit that properties'; assessment ';bear no rational relationship to the actual fair market values of the properties, even after applying a town-wide equalization adjustment.';
The property owners argue the assessor over-assessed their land values — they have no problem with the assessed value of their homes, many of which have been improved over the years.
The town';s contract tax assessor, David Wiley, utilized a base land tax rate for waterfront properties in the area at $400,000 per every first six-tenths of an acre. The proposed lawsuit does not challenge other parts of assessing value, such as the value of buildings, improvements or adjustments for the character of the land.