Court rules Colchester must repay some camp owners - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Court rules Colchester must repay some camp owners

Posted: Updated:
COLCHESTER, Vt. -

It's a financial victory for Lydia Wisloski and dozens of camp owners along Lake Champlain.

"We feel the land was being taxed twice," Wisloski said.

We first met Wisloski last summer when she and 43 other camp owners along the lake in Colchester appealed their 2011-2012 tax bills from the town.

"Looking at my own tax bill, only one-fifth of the tax bill was taxed on the cottage and fourth-fifths of the tax bill was taxed on the land," Wisloski said.

Her camp is on leased land. The owner of the land pays property taxes to the town for the value of the land. It's the responsibility of the camp owners to pay for the value of the buildings. But after Colchester did a townwide reappraisal, the town billed the homeowners for the value of the building and the property.

"In a lot of ways, it's double taxation," said Liam Murphy, the lawyer for the camp owners. "Instead of taxing just the building, they taxed what they called an amenity value; the location of the building based upon the location, access to the lake, its views and the neighborhood, and they added it to the buildings."

The town of Colchester and its lawyers declined to comment on the judge's ruling. But in court they argued that in order to fairly assess the value of the camps, they needed to consider the significance of the building's location.

"Their view was that each camp had more value than just the sticks of the building; where it sat on the land added to the value, and when they went to sell it, they could sell it for more than just what the building was," Murphy said.

The ruling will cost the town about $200,000 this year. Only the 44 camp owners that appealed will be reimbursed. But it's estimated there are about 500 camps and cottages on leased land in Colchester. They can appeal their 2012-2013 tax bills. That could cost the town about $2 million.

"It will be great to be reimbursed," Wisloski said.

WCAX News contacted the Vermont Tax Department to see if this double taxation is an issue in other communities across the state, but they said no, this is a unique situation in Colchester.

Related Story:

Colchester camp owners challenge assessments

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Snowmobile season officially ends

    Snowmobile season officially ends

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 1:08 AM EDT2014-04-16 05:08:12 GMT
    Today marks the end of the snowmobile season. The Vermont Association of Snow Travelers reports a banner year with the best riding conditions in years. VAST says next year snowmobilers will be able toMore >>
    Today marks the end of the snowmobile season. The Vermont Association of Snow Travelers reports a banner year with the best riding conditions in years. VAST says next year snowmobilers will be able toMore >>
  • A big honor for a Burlington teen

    A big honor for a Burlington teen

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 1:06 AM EDT2014-04-16 05:06:26 GMT
    16-year-old Yusuf Abdi was named 2014 Vermont Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year. He received the award during a celebration at the State House today. Judges called him extraordinary for his age, articulate,More >>
    16-year-old Yusuf Abdi was named 2014 Vermont Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year. He received the award during a celebration at the State House today.More >>
  • Blood donor honored for his contributions

    Blood donor honored for his contributions

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 1:04 AM EDT2014-04-16 05:04:54 GMT
    There are your average blood donors who might give once or twice a year and then there is Frank Sklenarik. He's donated 140 units or 17-and-half gallons of blood since becoming a donor in 1996. Today theMore >>
    There are your average blood donors who might give once or twice a year and then there is Frank Sklenarik. He's donated 140 units or 17-and-half gallons of blood since becoming a donor in 1996. Today theMore >>
  • Weather rollercoaster wreaks havoc across the state

    Weather rollercoaster wreaks havoc across the state

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:07 AM EDT2014-04-16 04:07:42 GMT
    Rain, flooding and now snow. This weather rollercoaster is causing problems all around our region. Temps have dropped so the heavy rainfall has switched to snow. Rivers are spilling their banks, roadsMore >>
    Rain, flooding and now snow. This weather rollercoaster is causing problems all around our region. Temps have dropped so the heavy rainfall has switched to snow.More >>
  • Rutland mom caught stealing Easter goodies

    Rutland mom caught stealing Easter goodies

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 1:07 AM EDT2014-04-16 05:07:35 GMT
    A Rutland mom is busted for stealing goodies for her child's Easter basket.  22-year-old Monica Barker pleaded guilty to swiping about $70 in merchandise from Wal-mart. Police say most of the stolen itemsMore >>
    A Rutland mom is busted for stealing goodies for her child's Easter basket.  22-year-old Monica Barker pleaded guilty to swiping about $70 in merchandise from Wal-mart. Police say most of the stolen itemsMore >>
  • Warnings about rising rivers across our region

    Warnings about rising rivers across our region

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 8:08 PM EDT2014-04-16 00:08:37 GMT
    Flood warnings are in effect around our region as heavy rains begin to move through. There is already localized flooding at some of the typical problem spots, like the wrong-way bridge on Route 15 inMore >>
    Parts of our region are already flooding and others are bracing as heavy rains move through. Not only is rain falling fast, but warm temperatures Monday melted snow, adding to high waters.More >>
  • Man rescued from Black River in Springfield

    Man rescued from Black River in Springfield

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 7:06 PM EDT2014-04-15 23:06:00 GMT
    A man had to be pulled from the Black River in Springfield Tuesday morning. The Hartford Fire Department says it's working to pull a man out from the river. They say he got stuck about 75 feet out inMore >>
    Vermont emergency workers have rescued a man stranded in the middle of a treacherous section of river in downtown Springfield.
    More >>
  • NH agrees Vt. man was insane during killing

    NH agrees Vt. man was insane during killing

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 2:49 PM EDT2014-04-15 18:49:26 GMT
    A Vermont man charged with stabbing a stranger to death in the lobby of a New Hampshire hotel last year will plead not guilty by reason of insanity.More >>
    A Vermont man charged with stabbing a stranger to death in the lobby of a New Hampshire hotel last year will plead not guilty by reason of insanity.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.