How many new buyers, realtors, attorneys and judges know the legal meaning of “impose – levy – assess”? Read this, because when you don’t understand the difference, you could be tricked to believe that you owe(d) an assessment/betterment bill that you did not owe. Our experience is that municipalities and courts misused the meaning of these words – finding a fact that an “assessment” was “imposed” in 1992, when the fact is that it was “imposed” in 1982. The Court’s finding of fact was wrong and not a fact at all!
Joyce filed Bankruptcy in February seeking to show that the Town’s claimed tax debt is egregiously in error as it was predicated upon a series of failures by the Town of Salisbury to follow the statutory requirements of Massachusetts General Law chapters 80 and 83. It was, in fact, the Town that sought to improperly charge a $7.8 MILLION betterment assessment on March 16, 1992 for a sewer project that had been “voted/ordered” on May 17, 1982, completed in 1989 and 100% funded by State and Federal grants. Accordingly, it is the Town of Salisbury that has sneakily, illegally taxed a portion of its residents and businesses in the beach area of Salisbury. Joyce is requesting a remedy and relief from being forced to pay illegal taxes that she is not responsible to pay. She wants to save her and her sister’s home (bought in 1991) and pay what is rightfully owed to the town. Joyce does not request taxpayers to grant relief from her municipal obligations. The town does not have a credible legal claim because the basis of the sewer betterment and sewer user assessments charged are illegal and excessive and these facts can be proven in Bankruptcy Court.
The problem is the Courts have all closed their eyes, so far, to the merits of the case. When a town does not do what it is required to do by statute, what can you do?Advice: pay attention to what is going on in your community, ask a lot of questions, request public records, research what you need to do to benefit your community, and when you vote – do the research first – understand the consequences of voting “yes or no”. Pay attention!