Assessors deny Walmart abatement request again

By Beth A. Birmingham | Jun 12, 2018
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham The Thomaston Board of Assessors, from left, Joan Linscott, Assessors' Agent David Martucci, Fred Wigglesworth and Peter Lammert, goes over the application by Walmart for a nearly $8.9 million reduction in assessed value March 28.

Thomaston — After receiving an extension to file for abatement, Walmart's request for a nearly $9 million reduction in its assessed valuation was denied a second time June 11 by the Thomaston Board of Assessors.

The original request by the retail giant for abatement was denied March 28 because of incomplete information. Thomaston Assessors' Agent David Martucci said the reason for the denial was that Walmart did not supply any information or supporting documentation regarding its value estimate, which is a minimum requirement.

"They found the application essentially didn't contain enough information," Martucci said of the board's June 11 decision.

The extension was granted after the firm certified in writing that it would supply all of the requested information, including how the company came up with its stated value, sales and expense figures for the Thomaston store, and any sales projections for that store.

Walmart had requested that the valuation on its 55 Thomaston Commons Way property and building be reduced from $15,889,373 to $7 million. This would have resulted in the company's receiving a tax abatement of $172,453 for 2017-2018.

Martucci said there was no explanation as to how Walmart came up with the $7 million figure and the valuation was not established using the Uniformed Standards of Professional Appraisal -- or USPAPA -- rules, which is the state standard.

The board had also requested expense and income figures. Expense figures were included, but Martucci said the report on income received by the board noted Walmart said "the real estate has no income attributable to it."

"After all the considerations, the board voted to deny the abatement request because no credible evidence of support was submitted," he said.

Walmart's next step to appeal would be to go through the State Board of Property Tax Review, according to Martucci.

Walmart is the town's second-highest property taxpayer. The current tax for the retailer is $388,507. Dragon Products is the top taxpayer, at $1,646,080. Lowe's is the third-highest taxpayer in Thomaston.

The store opened in October 2013, relocating from Rockland.

The law firm that has filed all of the abatement appeals is Stavitsky & Associates LLC, of Fairfield, N.J.

The Board of Assessors also considered applications for the Business Equipment Tax Exemption for the year.

"Some qualified, some didn't," Martucci said, adding that last year the board received roughly $6.5 million in requests. "This year, it's almost $13 million," he said.

He explained the law on BETE applications was changed.

"It used to say 'retail sales or services,' now it just says 'retail sales,'" he said, now the local hotel, car wash, oil company -- "all these places that have millions of dollars in value suddenly are coming out of the woodwork ... and why wouldn't they?"

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at bbirmingham@villagesoup.com.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Jun 12, 2018 11:15

They need that money to pay all the corporate people, most of whom never worked on a sales floor in their lives but know how everyone else should do it.



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