Letter: Assessor at the center of assessment woes

Posted 2/28/20

To the editor:

Kudos to Councilmen Brier and Boyajian for breaking the silence. At its last meeting, the council finally allowed an open discussion of the gross inequities in our tax assessments. …

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Letter: Assessor at the center of assessment woes

Posted

To the editor:

Kudos to Councilmen Brier and Boyajian for breaking the silence. At its last meeting, the council finally allowed an open discussion of the gross inequities in our tax assessments. Mr. Boyajian deftly described the issue. Some of us pay up to 30 percent too much tax, while many more of us pay up to 30 percent less than our fair share. Everyone in the room tacitly agreed this is intolerable. The ten-million-dollar question, how did this happen?

This occurred because of incompetence in our tax assessor’s office—a result of 10 years of bad practice and neglect with no oversight. While some may like him, many do not, but the point is his job performance. The primary job of our tax assessor is to ensure a fair distribution of the tax burden through proper assessments. Thus, it is the one best measure of his job performance because he has full authority and control over this indicator. Unfortunately, it took his recent big blunder, his improper increases of assessments on 2018 homebuyers, to bring attention to his established pattern of poor performance.

Mr. Boyajian working off the tax assessor’s own spread sheet found millions of dollars in ill-gotten revenue because assessments are all over the map. The council understands that this nearly 60 percent spread (assessments too high and too low) is unacceptable. His job performance is abysmal. With Barrington’s $70 million-dollar annual budget distributed over 6,500 households, he’s been playing way out of his league.

We deserve a smart, qualified professional. Look at Warren and Bristol and Portsmouth. Our neighbors all have first-rate tax assessors. Barrington taxpayers deserve as much.

Charlie Payne 

Barrington

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