In a letter, Stamford Selectboard chair Eunice Rice said recent tax mapping by Readsboro and multiple tax auctions for single lots are causing concern. In the letter she cites lot 15 as an example. “(Lot 15) is mainly in Stamford and has historically been taxed by Stamford. Readsboro has also included this lot in its tax base, and (has been) charging taxes on it. Due to nonpayment of taxes, both Stamford and Readsboro held a tax sale on lot 15. Stamford was successful in finding a buyer, but Readsboro claims ownership.”
Another example is the town line splitting individual properties into both towns, as in the case of lot 16. “The size of the lot is 3.8 acres,” writes Rice. “According to its split by the town line, Stamford has historically taxed on 2.8 acres and Readsboro on one acre. After Readsboro’s tax mapping, Readsboro is taxing on 4.4 acres. Add that to Stamford’s 2.8, and the owner is being taxed on 7.2 acres, not 3.8.”
Readsboro Selectboard member Teddy Hopkins voiced concern over the current methods that have led to the confusion. “In the past there has been this informal handshake between the listers, and either Readsboro or Stamford would not tax a lot if the other had the majority of the land. The point is, if it’s a one-acre lot and both towns are taxing on one acre then there’s obviously something wrong.”
Hopkins also expressed the need for a permanent solution by calculating exactly how much each town will tax based upon acreage. “If you split a property and Stamford says it’s one acre and we (Readsboro) say it’s one acre and we all know it’s wrong, if they sell the portion in Stamford it doesn’t mean they get one acre, they get whatever it is. So people who say they bought one acre in Stamford at a tax sale, and an acre in Readsboro, the tax sale doesn’t guarantee the acreage.”
Teddy and Larry Hopkins were chosen to represent the town of Readsboro, and will begin discussions with Stamford’s listers and selectboard as to how to move forward with a concrete solution.