Nov 142019

Town of Brookfield

P. O. Box 463

Brookfield, VT 05036

Phone: 802-276-3352


Pursuant to the provisions of 24 V.S.A. §1535 notice is hereby given that the Board of Abatement, within and for the Town of Brookfield, will meet on the 18th day of November, 2019 at 6:00 o’clock in the evening, at the Town Office in Brookfield.

                                                              Board of Abatement

                                                             By Teresa Godfrey      Date _11/6/2019__


Copy: Three Public Places

           Board Members


Joanna Doerfer for Jane Doerfer’s Estate                        6:00 p.m.   November 18, 2019

Constance Karalekas                                                        6:30 p.m.   November 18, 2019

                Appellant                                                            Time                      Date

* 24 V.S.A. §1535 states: the board may abate in whole or part taxes, interest, or collection fees accruing to the town in the following cases:

(1) Taxes of persons who have died insolvent;

(2) Taxes of persons who have removed from the state;

(3) Taxes of persons who are unable to pay their taxes, interest, and collection fees;

(4) Taxes in which there is manifest error or a mistake of the Listers;

(5) Taxes upon real or personal property lost or destroyed during the tax year;

(6) the exemption amount available under 32 V.S.A. § 3802(11) to persons otherwise eligible for exemption who file a claim on or after May 1 but before October 1 due to the claimant’s sickness or disability or other good cause as determined by the board of abatement; but that exemption amount shall be reduced by 20 percent of the total exemption for each month or portion of a month the claim is late filed.

(7), (8) [Repealed.]

(9) taxes upon a mobile home moved from the town during the tax year as a result of a change in use of the mobile home park land or parts thereof, or closure of the mobile home park in which the mobile home was sited, pursuant to 10 V.S.A. § 6237.

Jul 252018

BCA Hearing
Brookfield Town Office
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
6:00 p.m.
Subject property: 932 East Hill Road, Brookfield, VT
BCA members: Robert “Jake” Stewart, Beth DeForge, Cory Haggett, Jeff Kimmel, Bonnie Fallon
Listers: Phyllis Humez, Stuart Edson
Appellants: Allison Belisle, David VonHolden
Town Clerk: Teresa Godfrey
The meeting opened with the Town Clerk swearing in the BCA members, Listers, and Appellants.
The Board appointed Jeff Kimmel as Chair of the Board.
Teresa Godfrey recused herself from presenting testimony due to also being a Lister.
Mr. Kimmel explained the process of the BCA hearing.
He then asked the Listers to present their documents and testimony.
The following documents were presented by Stuart Edson and numbered as Lister 1, 2, etc.:

Cost sheet dated 11/16/2017
Cost sheet dated 06/19/2018
Letter to Brookfield Listers from the Appellants dated 6/7/2018
Property tax assessment review dated 3/2018 from Appellants
Result of grievance day appeal dated 6/27/2018
Special circumstances codes for non-valid sales dated 7/28/2016
Cost sheet comparable Parcel ID 01-016.000 1138 East Hill Road, Brookfield
Cost sheet comparable Parcel ID 03-039.000 320 Cross Brook Lane Ext., Brookfield
MLS cost sheet for 482 Royalton Hill Road, Bethel sold 12/1/2016

Mr. Edson explained the process the Listers had taken since the property was purchased on October 25, 2017. He explained the above documents and the result of the grievance.  The final result being the property value went from $955,900 down to $578,000.  The Appellants were not satisfied with the result and requested a BCA hearing.
Mr. Kimmel asked the Appellants to present their documents and testimony.
The following documents were presented by Allison Belisle and numbered as App. I, II, etc

Letter to Board of Civil Authority dated 7/2018
Email printout from Terry Owen (auctioneer) dated 7/10/2018
Page 4 & 5 of Attorneys Report and Opinion on Title (number App. III-A) Email printout complete Attorneys Report and Opinion on Title (numbered App. III-B) submitted with permission of Board and Listers on 7/19/2018.
Sale & Purchase agreement dated 10/12/2017
Home Details printout dated 6/27/2018

Ms. Belisle stated they maintain the value of their home at $415,000 and the auction was properly advertised and warned. They consider this an “arms-length transaction” and this was not a bankruptcy auction.  She presented an email from Terry Owen with the final listings and auction.  The property was on the market to sell for 2 years at $675,000 and there was no sale.  Only one offer of $400,000 was not accepted.  Ms. Belisle said the former Mayor of Barre stopped bidding at $410,000.  There were no banks involved.  All liens were from family.  There was no transfer of ownership.
Mr. Kimmel requested the full Attorneys report to be submitted to the Board via email the following day. (This was done through the Town Clerk’s email and sent to all involved.  Numbered as App. III-B above).
Ms. DeForge asked what the definition of “arms-length transaction”.
Ms. Belisle answered with it being an agreement between 2 parties making it a “fair market value” transaction.
Mr. Edson wanted to inform all that when the annual sales study is done by the State, they do not consider an auction a valid sale. The State will not consider this sale as valid per our District Advisor.
Mr. Kimmel said that without documentation for this, we won’t consider this for this hearing.
Mr. Edson conceded that the sales study has not been done for this property. The Listers presented a listing numbered #6 as a document supporting his statement of non-valid sales.
Ms. DeForge asked the Listers if the items on Listers #4 and not checked were addressed in the revaluation. Mr. Edson said yes.
Ms. DeForge asked the Appellants if during the 2 hour open house, if they attended. They said yes and twice before.  They made their own determination of what they would pay as a high end.
Ms. Fallon asked why they bought the home when they had all these concerns. Ms. Belisle said it was worth what they paid.
Mr. Haggett asked what they meant about “creative selling”. Mr. VonHolden said that Mr. Lacerte put the property into a LLC to declare bankruptcy with it protecting his other properties.
When asked who the attorney was for the sale, Ms. Belisle replied with Ray O’Buchowski.
Mr. Haggett asked if they had an appraisal done and Ms. Belisle replied that they didn’t see a reason to at this point.
Mr. Kimmel asked if either side had any comparables for recent sales. The Listers presented 3 different ones. The Appellants did not have any.
Mr. Haggett asked if there were mortgages totaling $540,000 why they didn’t consider this a distressed sale. Mr. VonHolden said the mortgages were with Mr. Lacerte’s family members and so the Appellants did not feel this would make is a distressed sale.
Mr. Haggett said the Board of Abatement did abate some of his taxes for financial trouble and it is now public record. Mr. VonHolden felt it was an assumption.
Mr. Haggett questioned the difference between housesite and homestead. At the Town Clerks suggestion, Mr. Edson explained the breakdown of the cost sheet and what the different depreciations meant.
Mr. Kimmel asked if there was any rebuttals from the Listers.
Mr. VonHolden stated they would like to reach common ground and Mr. Edson asked if they felt the Listers were not looking for a common ground. Ms. Belisle said the first pass, not really but the 2nd pass it was closer.
Mr. Kimmel asked for at least 3 volunteers for the house inspection. Ms. Fallon, Ms. DeForge, and Mr. Haggett volunteered.
July 21st at 9:00 a.m. is the set date and time for them to see the house.
Mr. Kimmel set the follow-up hearing with a report back from the inspection for August 9th at 6:00 p.m. at the Brookfield Town Office.
On motion by Mr. Kimmel, seconded by Mr. Haggett the meeting was adjourned at 7:20 p.m.

Feb 062018

The legal voters of Brookfield are hereby warned to meet for the annual Town Meeting at the Brookfield Elementary School auditorium at 1725 Ridge Road, Tuesday, March 6, 2018 at 10:00 A.M. to transact the following business:

To elect all officers as required by law for the ensuing year by Australian ballot. For this purpose, the polls will be open from 9:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M.
To hear and act on reports of the Town Officers.
To see if the Town will authorize the Selectboard to borrow money in anticipation of revenues.
To see if the Town will vote to have all taxes paid into the Treasury as provided by law in two installments, and if so, to set the dates.
To see if the Town will vote to contribute five hundred ($500) to Central Vermont Adult Basic Education (CVABE)
To approve a 12 month budget for the financial year of July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019 to meet the expenses and liabilities of the Town General Fund and to authorize the Selectboard to set a tax rate sufficient to provide the same.
To see if the Town will vote to approve purchase of a new Highway Department truck for up to $198,000, to be financed and paid for over a term of up to three (3) years.
To approve a 12 month budget for the financial year of July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019 to meet the expenses and liabilities of the Town Highway Fund and to authorize the Selectboard to set a tax rate sufficient to provide the same.
To transact any other proper business.

Dated at Brookfield, Vermont, this 29th day of January 2018.
Attest: Teresa Godfrey, Town Clerk
There will be an informational meeting about the Town Budget on Monday evening, February 26, 2018 at 6:30 P.M. at the Town Clerk’s Office

Jan 032018

The following positions will be on the ballot for election this year:
For a one year term: Town Moderator, Town Clerk, Treasurer, Del. Tax Collector, 1st Constable, 2nd Constable, Grand Juror, Agent to Deed Land and Town Forester.
For a three year term: Selectboard Member, Union School District Officer, Lister, Auditor, and Library Trustee (2 positions).
If you are interested in running for any of these positions, please come by the Town Office and pick up a petition for nomination. You will need 10 signatures from Brookfield registered voters and the form must be returned to the office no later than January 29th at 5:00 p.m. V.S.A. 17:2681 (a)

Nov 212017

Town of Brookfield
Board of Abatement Hearing
November 15, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.
Board Members: Stuart Edson, Bonnie Fallon, Curtis Koren, Robert “Jake” Stewart, Elizabeth DeForge, Phyllis Humez, Teresa Godfrey (Recorder)
Appellants: Mark Council & Bill Council for the Estate of Margaret Council, not present Paul Council
Mrs. Godfrey called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. and swore in the Board and Appellants. Mrs. Godfrey presented to the Board a copy of the current year’s tax bill.  She reported to the Board that the Lister’s have gone to the property for a site visit but explained that the only way to affect the current taxes was through a Board of Abatement.  The Council brothers requested the BOA because of their Mother dying insolvent. The entire year for taxes is in the amount of $2,877.72. There are no delinquencies for this property.
Public Presentation:
Mr. Mark Council presented to the Board copies of the Bank of America home equity account balances, checking account balances at the time of his mother’s stroke, and at the time of her death on April 3, 2015. Mr. Bill Council stated that since their mother’s death, they have emptied the house of 4 dumpsters of accumulated stuff, with at least 2 more to go, and it is becoming a financial burden. Mark Council said that their Mom liked her stuff.  She owned a used book store in Pennsylvania and moved the books with her.  The house needed work before she passed and at this time it is in no condition for renting.  They are requesting an abatement to keep the property in their names and finding the right buyer isn’t easy.
Mr. Edson asked what the plan was down the road.
Mark Council said their Mom left the 3 brothers with no disposable income. There needs to be a lot of work done to either sell or rent.  The shed needs emptying. The only source of heat is 2 propane space heaters.  There used to be a wood stove in the main living area.  The water froze the first winter so the holding tank is ruined.  There are broken windows.
Mrs. Godfrey asked if there was a mortgage. Bill Council said yes, with a $37,000 balance and he has been only able to pay the interest which is upwards of $125 per month.
Mark Council and Bill Council stated they are not looking for full abatement but some type of consideration for the current taxes.
The Board discussed the above and voted without any further discussion.
On motion by Mrs. Koren, seconded by Mr. Edson, the Board voted to abate the whole tax amount for the entire tax year of 2017-2018. Vote 7-yes, 0-no, 0-abstain.
Respectfully submitted,
Teresa Godfrey, Brookfield Town Clerk