by Chuck Douglas
The first of two power plant shoes has fallen with a $14,000,000 thud. Superior Court Judge Richard McNamara has held that Bow over assessed the plant and other Eversource properties by 58%, meaning for the tax years 2012-2015 Bow owes about $14,000,000 with interest.
Now that the goose that long laid golden eggs has become a turkey vulture there will have to be large tax increases or spending cuts to fund the check to Eversource.
While the town has appealed, the effort seems futile given that most of the judge’s decision was based on a lack of credible evidence from the town’s expert on valuation of utility properties. The Supreme Court does not make new determinations of credibility.
After hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees and expert costs the town should take several steps now:
1. Get a new town counsel
2. Get an attorney that specializes in tax cases
3. Settle as soon as possible
4. For future years have the State value the property
5. Tell the voters how much the tax jump will be per thousand of residential tax dollars to make up for this fiasco
6. Cut the town and school budgets — not increase them!
The alternative is to borrow $14,000,000 at 4% interest for 20 years, which at 4% will cost at least $20,000,000 and will run us $1,000,000 a year to acquire nothing.
Finally, new blood will be needed on the school board and board of selectmen to retire the tax and spend crowd so long in control and who will surely resist the needed budget cuts.