A state Superior Court judge has sustained an objection filed on behalf of a New Canaan business that’s objecting to the town’s valuation of 52 vehicles in its fleet, Connecticut Judicial Branch records show.
The town had sought to transfer the case of Hoyt Livery versus the Town of New Canaan to New Britain, saying the state Tax and Administrative Appeals Session located there specializes in appeals such as the one brought in September by the Cross Street business.
Fay noted in her objection that none of the areas over which the Tax Session has exclusive statewide jurisdiction—orders from the Department of Revenue Services, certain decrees of the probated courts and decisions of the Penalty Review Committee, for example—apply in this case.
Rather, Fay said in the objection, “Appeals arising from challenges to municipal assessments of real and personal property like the instant one … must be filed with the Superior Court for the judicial district where the municipality is located.”
New Canaan last year assessed the Hoyt Livery vehicles—mostly newer-model Chevys, Fords, Lincolns and Chryslers, ranging from about $4,000 to $31,000—in a way that was “grossly excessive, disproportionate and unlawful,” Fay said in the original complaint.
In all, the town assessed the Hoyt Livery’s vehicles at $797,240, whereas the “true assessment” is about $497,892, according to documentation filed on behalf of the business as part of the civil summons.
There is “no reason” to transfer the matter to New Britain, Fay said in her objection to the town’s Motion to Transfer, filed by attorney Mario Coppola of Westport-based Berchem Moses PC.
“New Canaan is a ‘swing town’ and it could have brought the matter properly in the judicial district of Fairfield or the judicial district of Stamford-Norwalk and it chose the judicial district of Stamford-Norwalk,” Fay said.
She added that “if the taxpayers are requesting that their appeal be heard” there, “the Courts ought to honor their choice.”
“Second, one of the two principals of Hoyt Livery, Inc., who is a necessary witness, is suffering from health issues which require frequent appointments and follow-up,” Fay said. “Lastly, the Plaintiff’s witnesses and the 52 motor vehicles that are the subject of this appeal are located in this judicial district and it would be impracticable and unduly burdensome to require the Plaintiff to traipse across the State with its evidence to adjudicate a simple tax appeal.”
The next court date hasn’t been scheduled yet, Judicial Branch records show.
The case unfolds as New Canaan undergoes a revaluation of real property in town, with new assessments—70 percent of a property’s value—to be mailed out this month.