Colchester camp owners challenge assessments - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Colchester camp owners challenge assessments

Colchester, Vermont - August 5, 2011

Lydia Wisloski has owned her waterfront cottage in Colchester for a decade.

"Colchester is a gorgeous community and they have all the activities on the lake and it is a very nice place to live," she said.

What she doesn't own is the land her summer getaway sits on. She and many of her neighbors lease their lots, and many say it should not be factored into their assessed property values come tax time.

"We are happy to pay what we owe in fair evaluation of our camps and cottages, but we certainly don't expect to pay taxes on land that is again being taxed by a landowner who will pass that tax along to the leases," Wisloski said.

Colchester's town manager, Al Voegele, says he hears Wisloski's frustration but stands by the assessments and says they were done by the book.

"We base the values of property, both the state and town, on what the market value of the house is. And the market value also includes the land on which it sits," Voegele said.

Voegele says Vermont state law requires land value to be factored into the assessments regardless of whether the property is owned or leased.

"They don't differentiate between it being leased or non-leased," Voegele said. "What they say is what did somebody buy that property for? What was the cost of that property?"

Wisloski says the assessments aren't fair. She's seen hers jump 50 percent in just a few years and fears if things don't change she won't be able to share her special spot with her grandkids as they grow up.

"I am now having grandchildren and I don't know that it will be here when they are old enough to identify bugs. I don't know that I'll be able to be here then," she said.

Wisloski and her neighbors are challenging the assessments with the town. She says they plan legal action if they are not successful.

Keith McGilvery - WCAX News

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