Brookfield Town Office
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
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.