Meriden non-profit organizations request metropolis tax assessments in courtroom

MERIDEN – Three local nonprofits are arguing their recent city-issued property tax laws in court.

State Superior Court records show that the Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center of Greater Waterbury, MidState Arc, and the Women & Families Center have all recently filed appeals claiming the nonprofits are now on real estate in Meriden be taxed who own them.

Easter Seals alleged in a lawsuit filed May 18, listing the city as the sole defendant, that the city assessor recently granted tax exemption status to two of its properties, 125 Broad St. and 158 State St., in determining , canceled Meriden’s complete list of taxable properties from October 1, 2020.

According to the organization’s complaint, the properties had previously been tax-free.

The agency claims that city assessor Melinda Fonda has granted the tax-exempt status of her 125 Broad St. property “without notice …

The complaint later stated that the organization’s next quarterly report was not due until November 1 of this year. Easter Seal claimed the property’s tax exemption revocation was in violation of Connecticut state law and “was carried out without legal authority.”

“The appraiser’s revocation of the tax-exempt status of Easter Seal Rehab is inappropriate and / or illegal and violates state law,” the complaint said.

As a relief, the organization asks for declarations that the two properties are exempt from taxation, as well as the reimbursement of any tax overpayments and other reimbursements.

Easter Seals President and CEO Loraine C. Shea, who was reached by phone on Thursday, said her organization has long had a presence in the city.

She said the organization offers nonprofit services. While Easter Seals made the first quarterly payment of assessed property taxes, Shea hopes the organization can offset those expenses.

City records show that Easter Seals paid $ 5,264 of the $ 2,058 the city owes for its Broad Street property.

“We’re really going through the legal process right now. We hope we will prevail in the end, “said Shea, adding that there was” no reason why our status ” [as tax-exempt] would have changed overnight. “

The city’s lawyers filed responses to the complaints in July. Lawyers denied allegations that the city had not communicated the new tax assessments without giving any details. In response to Easter Seals’ complaint, the lawyers wrote: “The defendant also denies that the plaintiff’s’ exempted status’ has been ‘withdrawn’ as that terminology incorrectly implies a continuing legal right to exemption. The defendant admits that it has established that the plaintiff is not entitled to any tax exemption. “

Another complaint filed by Women & Families Center Inc. on May 21st begins with a description of the center as “a domestic human service nonprofit” that has served the city since 1889 and “whose mission is to bring about justice.” and promote the quality of life through services to individuals and families that promote self-determination and independence. ”The complaint described that Women & Families Center Inc. had been recognized as tax-exempt by the federal tax office.

The center alleges that one facility it operates, WYSH House, which reopened at 183 Colony St., with the aim of providing supportive temporary housing to homeless youth, has been wrongly levied property tax.

The WYSH home’s tax bill shows that the Women & Families Center now owes a balance of $ 51,728 on the property, including taxes and interest.

The organization claims in its complaint that the city “imposed a tax on non-taxable property”. The complaint went on to say: “WFC was harmed and damaged by the actions.”

Meanwhile, MidState Arc Inc., in its complaint, described a property tax assessment and assessment of a group home owned by it at 76 Alexander Drive as “not showing the real and actual value of the property” and “grossly exaggerated, disproportionate and unlawful”. … “

City officials did not respond to a reporter’s request for comment on the contested assessment and legal documents.

Officials previously told Record-Journal that state law allows local tax auditors to determine which properties owned by nonprofits and other organizations would be considered tax-exempt. The same law also allows these organizations to appeal these decisions to the state Supreme Court.

[email protected]: @MikeGagneRJ