[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town of Alfred Annual Town Meeting 3-7-1997 by Art. 67. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Town of Alfred hereby adopts an ordinance entitled the "Town of Alfred Board of Assessment Review Ordinance."
Board of Assessment Review members shall be appointed by the Board of Selectmen and must be sworn before assuming office.
The Board shall consist of five members, one member to be appointed for one year, two members to be appointed for two years and two members to be appointed for three years. Thereafter, all appointments shall be for three-year terms.
When there is a permanent vacancy, the Board of Selectmen shall appoint a new member to serve for the remainder of the unexpired term.
The Board shall annually elect from the membership a Chairman and a Secretary.
The Board of Assessment Review shall be responsible for arbitration of taxpayer appeals and the authority to abate assessments based on the evidence of the appeal hearing.
A quorum, consisting of three members, shall be present to act, and an abatement shall be allowed by a majority vote of the Board present and voting.
The Chairman shall make such rulings as may be required during a hearing, unless any members object, in which case the ruling shall be determined by majority vote.
The Chairman shall swear all witnesses, using the following oath or affirmation: “Do you solemnly swear (affirm) that the testimony you are about to give in the matter now in hearing shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God (under the pains and penalties of perjury).”
The Chairman shall maintain order at all hearings and may exclude any person or persons from the hearing room who are disorderly and interfere with the orderly conduct of the hearing.
When a taxpayer requests a hearing, he (she) shall be notified of the date, time and place for that hearing in writing and he (she) will also be given adequate preliminary information and time to ensure effective preparation of his (her) case. At a minimum he (she) will be given the following information, which will govern all hearings. All hearings shall:
Be conducted in the Alfred Town Hall, open to the public and to:
Be opened with a presentation of the issue by the Chairman.
Be conducted informally, but under oath, without technical rules of evidence, but subject to requirements of due process. All evidence having reasonable probative value shall be admissible but all immaterial, irrelevant and unduly repetitious evidence shall be excluded.
Allow the taxpayer and the Tax Assessor the option to present their positions for themselves or with the aid of others, including legal counsel;
Give participants an opportunity:
To present oral or written testimony or documentary evidence;
To offer rebuttal;
To question witnesses;
To examine all evidence presented at the hearing;
To view the property in issue, provided both parties (the taxpayer and the Assessor, together with legal counsel) shall have the right to be present and evidence or testimony shall not be offered at the time of review. Both parties may nevertheless call to the attention of the Board those things which they wish the Board to observe, without further comment during the review. The review may precede or follow the hearing itself as the Board shall determine.
Result in a decision, based exclusively on evidence or testimony presented at the hearing and the observations of the Board on any view taken;
Be permanently recorded, having a written decision (See below, § 4-6, Disposition of hearing decision.) filed with evidence introduced at the hearing. The hearing will allow the taxpayer to establish all pertinent facts and circumstances, and to advance any arguments without undue interference. Nonrecord information that either party does not have an opportunity to hear or see is not used in the hearing decision or made part of the hearing record. The hearing authority shall not review any material prior to the hearing, unless the same material is made available to both parties and their legal counsel, if any.
The decision of the Board of Assessment Review shall be binding on the Tax Assessor and shall be communicated in writing to the taxpayer and to the Tax Assessor, Tax Collector and Town Treasurer within 10 days after completion of the hearing. Written notice of the decision shall contain the following:
The taxpayer shall be furnished with a copy of the notice of decision, the hearing record and a copy of the tax or assessment record maintained by the Tax Assessor, if requested.
The written notice of decision shall state that the taxpayer and the Town, if either is dissatisfied with the decision, shall have the right to judicial review under the provisions of Maine Revised Statutes Annotated. To take advantage of this right, the taxpayer or the Town must file a petition for review in the Superior Court within 30 days from the receipt of notice of the hearing decision. The procedure or appeal shall be as set forth in Rule 80B of the Maine Rules of Civil Procedure.
If any portion of this chapter shall be declared invalid, it shall not affect any other portion of this chapter.
This chapter may be amended at any Annual or Special Town Meeting.