Work or tricks?

Will the Nashua Assessors Department do the work, or use their magic tricks?

This year, Nashua property owners submitted 376 abatement requests before the March 1 deadline. This number is about 340 percent higher than last year’s number of abatement requests and about 45 percent more than the number of abatements that were submitted after the last state mandated valuation update in 2013. The writer believes the growth in these numbers is associated with compounding effects of many years of poor assessing practices and the associated deterioration of the assessed value database.

That aside, the assessors department has a magic trick they can use to make the already difficult process of applying for an abatement even more difficult. By simply not acting on an abatement request before July 1, an application is automatically denied. From this point, the property owner has the option of appealing to the New Hampshire State Board of Tax and Land Appeal or they can seek a ruling in the New Hampshire Superior Court. Both of these require paying fees (cost), generally require an appraisal (more cost), and may require hiring a lawyer (way more cost). Not to mention all the time that is required to work through this process.

Even though the number of applications is up significantly, there still are ample resources to process ALL 376 of these requests. Specifically, there are four state certified assessors and 17 weeks to process them. This equates to processing six abatement requests per assessor per week. Of course, it may be necessary to postpone some routine work and perhaps even work some overtime hours to complete the task. But these are normal things that every organization with a variable workload must deal with.

It will be interesting to see whether the assessors department uses their magic trick or they focus on the task at hand and get the work done. A lot will be communicated to the public either way.