Board OKs second abatement for Farmington taxpayer

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FARMINGTON — Following a walk through the home of Michael Deschenes at 269 Fairbanks Road, the Board of Assessment Review recently granted an additional abatement to the assessment of his property for 2009.

After previously receiving a $29,600 abatement from the town assessor, Deschenes sought more, researched other properties around town and pleaded his case before the board, which chose to see the property before rendering their decision.

The board granted further adjustments in seven areas including the home’s basement, workshop area, plumbing, barn and storage room. A charge for an undeveloped subdivision and road frontage was also abated.

The adjustments tallied an additional $49,200 abatement from the assessed property value, said Mark Caldwell, the town’s assessor on Thursday. Caldwell said he thought the board had been “extra generous.”

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“He did his homework showing deficiencies, item by item. He proved his case,” said Michael Moffett, board chairman. “The board felt he was overassessed with each of the seven motions.”

Deschenes is a self-employed contractor for 25 years and said he bought and fixed up 50 homes during that time. He bought the Fairbanks property in 2000 and began renovations but some areas remain unfinished.

According to the 70-page report he compiled explaining his objections, complete with photos and reports on other properties, the value of his property had increased $214,000 in nine years. The buildings alone had increased $185,000 during the nine years, a 209 percent increase, while other properties of similar size, age and condition had much lower increases, he wrote in his report.

Caldwell had told Deschenes he had his property at 85 percent of value while Deschenes found other similar properties assessed at 50 to 60 percent of value, according to his report.

The board has to be careful about comparing properties, assessments are subjective, Moffett said.

Deschenes also found his valuation report included charges for a “paper” subdivision that has never been developed but was assessed higher than similar, developed subdivisions in town. A previous owner had obtained permits for the subdivision but never developed it.

He knew of the plan but was not aware that he was being charged until he asked for his valuation report, he said. The subdivision approval has since been rescinded.

Another issue of concern involved road frontage. The board recommended that no one be taxed based on it, just for consistency sake, Moffett said.

abryant@sunjournal.com

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