Astronomy Picture of the Day

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Which 251

There are 251 Towns in Vermont. It has become very clear to me today that it depends on the town you live in, how sensitive the Town Fathers are. My research came from my year long quest for truth about tax lien sales, due process, 5th and 14th amendments & Vermont's mysterious statewide locally administered property tax
My quest has culminated in complete and total surrender.
In doing so I am freeing myself to release publicly correspondence I have had with the mostly male Town fathers.
But first I want to prime you. If you find this all too tedious, go back to bedazzled.
I found this paper online by a wonderful historian and he explains the property taxation
during the Romans times up to present day. This is a link and I found it helped me understand what they did to us.
Fair warning to Vermont property owners:
You may be living in a town, where in as little as 6 months late paying your property taxes, the town can sell the tax lien, and your bank could pay the tax lien and foreclose. You will be subjected to paying the town's lawyer fees to take your property, and advertising, fees, penalties and up to 8%  of the tax goes to the tax collector.
The town does not use income sensitivity and can pick and choose what to sell.
The article above does talk about due process and the fact that people can challenge
local towns when due process and fairness are not followed.
But the reality, girl, is that the town does not have to tell you. Your name is second on the deed, right?
The town does not have to give you due process.
So I decided to avoid paying the limitless costs of court battle.
It would be the only way to challenge the final decision by the town fathers.
There is no board or centralized State office who hears appeals about town fathers.
The citizen must file suit. With an attorney, that costs 10k and up. Without an attorney,
doom. Either way a potential to aggravate my MS.
Town wins. Girl loses.
Now I will post over the next span of time, an argument that did not work in this town.
In fact it is weird that the town felt such hardship in 2009, that they would have to sell our fourth generation farm after being 9 months late. This action forced us to suffer irreversibly, completely.
A violation of our trust that people can be kinder than necessary when they see someone suffering.
The article above points to "Tax Farmers" of Roman times. I can envision them raking someone for money.
Also he describes the "Tax Ferrets" of the nineteenth century and the tax collection policies of the 1930 depression.
So if you opt to read the documents I will publish, you may formulate your own opinions.

This is the letter we sent to the town. I edited out some of it but kept the core.
The following is our argument outline of why we believe we should be granted tax abatement.

This explains what we want abated. It states the core of our argument. After the outline will appear comments we believe have merit.
1. Request for Abatement of all Property taxes we paid to the town of Monkton in the year 2009 and also any Fees, Penalties, Interest, town lawyer’s costs and costs we incurred related to Monkton tax including but not limited to:
a. Delinquent 2008 VT & Local Property Taxes, interest, fees, etc: $8,473.68 which was paid after town threatened sale.

b. VT & Local Property Taxes 2009: $4121.83

c. Total of $ 12,595.51.

our property taxes owed in 2009 was 28 percent of our household income.

We understand there is income sensitivity with VT property taxes.

We have faced extraordinary circumstances that make it difficult for us to meet our tax obligations.

Mary was never notified by the tax collector of her being delinquent, nor of her being threatened by a tax sale. Mary wrote the town lawyer and the Monkton select board to get information about what would have been sold and ask how the town attempted to inform her about the tax sale, copy of the ad that Fred and Mary paid for but never saw.

She has not received any of this information.

We have a history of paying our taxes on time and regularly since

becoming owners in 1993.

The farm has been in this family paying taxes in Monkton for over a hundred years.

We have suffered losses, extraordinary challenges, costs, health issues and stress.

Please consider our requests.

Additional comments which we believe are necessary to express:

We feel that we were subjected to a tax sale in a discriminatory way.

We were singled out and treated differently from almost every other tax payer who has been in our position of delinquency of less than 1 year.

One selectman said the town attorney decided which properties would be sold based on value. This is contrary to the policy which states any property owing $250 or greater. There are concerning notations in the select board minutes leading up to the sale like one asking how many delinquent properties have mortgages? Why is that relevant?

The timeline for the Monkton town officials participating and conducting the tax sale, and events leading up to the tax sale are suspicious. Per the minutes, The Conservation committee discussed tax sales in July with a selectman.

John Phillips did send Mary the list of delinquent properties and the policy.

It was impossible to figure out why there was 58 properties late and only 4 were to be sold. It is unclear in the minutes if any property was sold. It is unclear when tax sales have been held since the new tax sale policy in 2004. There have been many properties listed for multiple years late. How can that be if we were 9 months late and threatened with a tax sale?

What was offered in the way of making payments? Offer of abatement per Vermont law? Ultimately, What was the Town of Monkton going to sell?

Comments from Mary alone: I am a landowner and successful taxpayer on this farm since 1993 or so. I have paid my dues so to speak. I have been verbally attacked in the town office by a town official. I do not feel comfortable there. Some will say it was Fred’s responsibility to tell me the Town was selling my property so the bank would foreclose and then they could be rid of me. I thought that too for a minute. That is all.

I deserved to be notified myself, Me, Mary Gerdt, by the Town of Monkton tax collector who decided along with a select board and a lawyer to take my property. The responsibility to notify a landowner must rest with the town.

This relates to the law of real property.

I know the law of land ownership quite well and I know a signature is required from me to take my property and sell it. Even if I am a woman, a wife. No town official approached me or had a sheriff serve me or nail a note on my door. The conservation committee knew about the sale and yet Mary did not know about the sale. This coincided with land deals on abutting property that we both were not notified about. Mary read the minutes but could not tell that her property was up for sale.

It did not make sense. Mary did a spreadsheet of all the properties sold. It does not make sense. Mary has emails to and from the select board and town attorney. Mary still has not seen an accounting of what the tax collector did to notify her/them.

So we both write to the Monkton Board of Civil Authority with pleading for tax abatement and hopefully leaving you with questions to ponder.

We believe the tax sale policy should be revisited to include income sensitivity, consideration of hardships and applied consistently, ethically and fairly.

............more later.mary gerdt


  1. My heart breaks for you. I've been through a foreclosure and now Alex has gone thru one. There was NO reason for my foreclosure to go through and Alex has always paid his until the job went *poof*. Once he gets a job, we can pay again.

    Where he lives, properties are hard to sell. Makes no sense to have an empty house for years but sensibility is not a strong suit of those in charge.

    As a non-practicing Libertarian (can't really be one if you're on SSDI and Medicaid) I am utterly opposed to taxation of this scale.

    If Fourth Generation homeowners are losing their properties due to high taxes (and yours are HIGH) then something is wrong.

    Don't think our forefathers intended for us to be taxed to death. After all, that's why we left England.

    My best to you...and (((hugs)))

  2. Thanks Friend, for the kind words and I am sorry for you guys as well. This is a sick world. Am glad we have each other. Fred and I can face it. We are paid up on the taxes. I just really think this is all wrong. Thanks for understanding. There are more fun e-mails to read. I will post as I get to it...hugs right on back..mary

  3. We have a lot of empathy for you. Our /Charlotte property tax is 26% of our taxable income. We are elderly, and have been told that legislators want to help keep us (the elderly)in our homes and that they are working on restructuring the school tax (the culprit). The legislature knows about our situation--we'll see how long it takes to get relief! We are at their mercy unless something like a class action suit can be brought. I assume you have written to all the legislators? Best wishes!!


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