To the editor:
In July of 2019, I wrote a letter to the State of New Hampshire's Board of Tax and Land Appeals to lodge a formal complaint about the impropriety of the Berlin Board of Assessors granting abatements to each other and a son. I guess the BTLA thought that there were enough issues in my complaint to order an evidentiary hearing. During this hearing everyone who was ordered to appear such as, all BOA members, myself, the DRA (as interveners) the lawyers for the BOA, lawyers for the City of Berlin and lawyers' for the DRA, City Manager etc. were all sworn in under oath. This hearing was supposed to be held last year in Concord but got postponed once due to inclement weather and then again because of Covid. Eventually, a WebEx meeting was held over a two day period in February of 2021. The BTLA concluded on March 17, 2021, that the Berlin BOA members acted improperly and not in the best interest of the City of Berlin's taxpayers, by granting each other and a board member's son abatements. Please see the City of Berlin's website berlinnh.gov/homenews/btla- decision-board-assessors-abatement-case to read the BTLA's decision.
Two days before this decision was handed down the Berlin City Council approved Robert Goddard's request for another term as chairman of the Berlin BOA. Councilor Theberge voted to table the appointment pending the outcome of the BTLA's decision but the motion failed to get a second, and the full council voted him in for another term! Go figure? Last week, and again this week I spent some time talking with our Mayor and our City Manager as well as a councilwoman and asked them to do the right thing! The citizens of Berlin need to be able to trust the BOA to perform their duties in a fair, transparent and equitable manner. The BOA,as well as the city council and mayor have a fiduciary responsibility to the citizens of our city.
I am very pleased to say that our Mayor and most of the city council voted to ask the BOA members for their resignations! (Councilor Eastman was not allowed a vote because he was a member of the BOA thus it was a conflict of interest and councilor Rozek whose wife was on the BOA was on vacation and I believe did not vote either).
The Mayor and most of the Council acted properly through this whole process and in the end, acted in the best interest for the citizens of Berlin! They should be applauded for the actions they took!
I would implore all citizens to talk with your mayor and councilors. Let your concerns, thoughts and wishes be known to them, as they were elected by you to represent you and your family. Get involved in city government any way you can to help make our community a better place to live!
Stephen M. Dion