Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Lawyers, legal situation, snubs, and tax/economic news attached.

Greetings friends and neighbors,

The message below was received this evening and I thought you all should read it. It seems both disappointing and yet holds out some hope at the same time when the precedent I sent along is considered fully. He seems to be saying the valuation and appraisal process should be challenged and we should all be doing appeals...which we are or at least I hope we all are. Then he says these selective appraisals seem very unfair and may have violated the legal precedent (Allegheny Pittsburgh Coal versus Webster County). The Supreme Court found that the Constitution of the Unitied States requires "attainment of a rough equality in the tax treatment of similarly situated property owners." And according to my own research, Allegheny gives an indication that great disparity in tax liability was unconstitutionally discriminatory regardless of the assessment scheme utilized." Folks we could be at the epicenter of a landmark case which could possibly turn the current tide against what I call "the disease"...current market analysis.

Another source of information comes from Susan Hansen, who is a Prudential Real Estate agent and friend of Jack Helgeson for many years. He handles her legal work also and she passed along the following; "she spoke with Jack and also Craig Call who is also back in private law practice now. (Mr. Call had been the State Ombudsman) And he (Craig Call) recommended that you all get a good Tax Code Attorney in the State. He is friends with Palmer Dupaulis. He was the former Mayor of Salt Lake City who was a tax code attorney, so he is going to call Palmer and get what he considers is the best tax code attorney in the State and get that to me. Jack just said, you know it takes so much money that is is almost impossible to do. When you are talking so few people offering $100, maybe you should open it up to the whole Valley and we could have enough funds that we could fight this thing."

Good point, but "opening it up to the whole Valley" is a task I as only me - myself - and I can not do. I have asked Val ? of the Ogden Valley Utah Forum (blog site) to merge our lists of those who have volunteered or "pledged" financial support. So far after five days I have heard nothing back? So either Val and the Forum doesn't agree we need to merge resources or they are just swamped trying to work the website. I have had discussions with Jeannie Wendell of the Ogden Valley News and she seems sympathetic and interested in our cause. I think she might be a partner with Shauna Francis and together they might be convinced to put a public plea out in the paper asking for everyone who thinks the "current valuations and assessments" are way out of control to step up to the financial support plate. After all "rich people" can't appreciate much what the assessors have done either.

Also, I just now received a call from Washington DC and Ron has asked me to go before the State Tax Commission meeting being held on the 19th to represent him and our Valley and my Town - Huntsville. I will do that and present our plight, petitions, and predicament. He is putting me (us) on their agenda. I will report back soonest after.

I would like you to know that I still need a conversation with our attorney and I want to know some concrete estimates of what it will take financially to pursue legal action further. And I am also open to hearing what if anything Plamer Dupaulis and Craig Call come up with for the best Tax Code Attorney in the State and what it would cost us before I present any more details to you.

I have 30 pledges for $100 so far and suppose the Ogden Valley Forum also has something since they also sent out an inquiry. Hopefully we can merge potential donors and perhaps get the Ogden Valley News to advertise across the entire Valley and into those out of Staters on their mailing list who own properties in our Valley.

Snubbed by Huntsvillians again tonite so feeling low. Sorry. Please help me keep up the fight. Ask a neighbor or a friend if they would like to put up some money toward a legal fight? I won't commit us without your consent beyond the investigation phase to which I committed us based upon an estimate of $500 to $600. And I will keep you all informed as best I am able. But for now it is only me at a single computer late into the night. Any one out there a public relations (PR) type who is willing to chip in and help me. I am a hopeless and tactless old fighter pilot, but honest non politician, who is NRFAPO (not running for any public office) and could definitely use some volunteer assistance. Oh and we have a list of every news organization, TV, radio, newspaper, etc. contact in the State coming our way which should help also.


Minor machman

"Mr. Bell...

As you know, we have been investigating the background of the recent extraordinary and unfair valuations of the properties in Huntsville. Most of the components of the property tax assessment remained the same for 2007, and a few decreased as a result of decreased budgets. To date, we have seen no violations of law in levying the assessments of tax. Your real challenge is not to the assessment process, but to the valuation and appraisal process. These selective appraisals seem very unfair.

My present feeling is that the valuation and appraisal process may have violated constitutional standards as described in Allegheny Pittsburgh Coal v. Webster County, 488 U.S. 336 (1989). We need more time to evaluate the law as applied following that decision.

Your neighbors should all be aware of the September 17, 2007 deadline for filing 2007 appeals. The appeals form is attached to the 2007 Property Valuation Notice from Weber County. These need to be returned by that date.

We will continue to discuss and research legal issues. In the meantime, we wish you much success in bringing political changes to make the property tax more fair to taxpayers.


Jack Helgesen"


Anonymous said...

Great article! Let's start positioning D-Bell to replace Gage Froerer as our State Representative. Froerer has Conflicts of Interests. He's a Realtor. He wants higher property values so he can make bigger commissions.

Minor Machman said...

Thanks for the vote of confidence, but IANRFAPO (I am not running for any public office). Any credibility I have stems from my dedication to my Town, Valley and State and all our futures. Not from any political ambitions. Besides, I am not positive just yet that Gage F. needs replacing. One thing is for certain he had best be listening and ACTING for all he is worth to enact a Utah version of proposition 13 "type" property tax reform. His political career depends upon it and he should understand that clearly by now. He needs to prove himself a capable leader in this arena. I think he is trying to catch-up to where we are leading him and that's a good thing. But the door is still cracked open a little bit.

I spoke at length with another previously interested Rep. guy who flatly said he supported a deferred taxation scheme where the taxes compound and would be owed upon our deaths by our children. This is a "DOA" (dead on arrival) approach so far as I am concerned, so I dropped him like a hot rock from any further consideration. Let's give Gage a chance to "earn his bones" against the very rich and powerful lobby Senator Stevenson told us (via Richard Evans) about and Ron M. has confirmed. But eternal vigilance is required and any sign of further weakness or lack of resolve and it should be curtains...

Anonymous said...

The jury is still out on Gage as it appears he is making a strong effort. During the Huntsville Town Property Assessment night last Saturday, he and two Realtors from his office (Joan Woodruff and Deborah Hegg) worked diligently to assist Huntsville Residents with their property tax appeals.

I believe the Senator you refer to is Alan Christensen and we definitely need a strong candidate to challenge him during the next election.

Thanks for all you are doing, Machman.

Richard Sorensen