The assessment of betterments is a method used to charge the cost of public improvements, which benefit a limited area, against the real estate situated with such area. Although the owners of the real estate are named in the assessment, they are not personally liable for payment of the assessment.
Section 1 of Chapter 80 requires that betterments be assessed, only in accordance with a formal vote of a board of officers authorized to assess betterments, and requires that the vote state that betterments are to be assessed for the improvement. The board assessing the betterments must, within six months after completion of the improvement, determine the actual cost of the project and apportion the cost thereof, among the parcels of property situated within the benefited area. The assessment upon any particular parcel, may not exceed the actual cost of the betterment. The person who was liable for the assessment of real estate taxes on the preceding January 1, is designated as the owner in the assessment order.
Section 2 of Chapter 80 The order, for assessment of the betterment, must describe the area which will receive the benefit and refer to a plan which shows such area. The order must also contain an estimate of the betterment which will be assessed upon each parcel. No betterment may be assessed unless the order, plan and estimate are recorded within ninety days from the adoption of the order, and no betterment may be assessed in excess of the amount estimated.
Section 3 of Chapter 80 Permits an owner of land liable to assessment of a betterment, to surrender such land, if he notifies the board assessing the betterment within three months of the award of damages, and the board determines that public convenience and necessity require that such land be taken for the improvement.
Section 4 of Chapter 80 Requires that the board making the assessment certify the assessments to the assessors within a reasonable time after they are made. The assessors, forthwith, commit the assessments to the collector.
Section 5 of Chapter 80 Authorizes an owner to file an application for abatement of the assessment, with the board making the assessment, within six months after the notice of the assessment is sent by the collector.
Section 6 of Chapter 80 Provides that if a petition filed requesting a determination on the validity of an assessment, fails for lack of jurisdiction, defect of form, etc., an owner may file a petition within six months after the final determination.
Section 7 of Chapter 80 Authorizes a person aggrieved by a refusal to abate, to appeal such decision to the Superior Court within thirty days after notice of the decision.
Section 8 of Chapter 80 Allows an executor, administrator, heir of devisee of a person entitled to an abatement who died prior to the expiration of the period for filing an application for abatement without so filing, to file within one year after such executor, administrator, heir or devisee acquires an interest in the property.
Section 9 of Chapter 80 Prescribes the court procedure when a refusal of an application for abatement is appealed to the Superior Court. Provides that court costs will be awarded to the party who prevails.
Section 10 of Chapter 80 Allows an appeal to the County Commissioner, rather than to the Superior Court. Requires the appellant to notify the board, which made the assessment of the appeal by registered mail within ten days after the appeal is filed.
Section 10A of Chapter 80 Provides that an application for abatement of a betterment shall be deemed to be denied, if not acted upon within four months of filing, and allows a person aggrieved thereby, to appeal the denial within sixty days thereafter.
Section 11 of Chapter 80 Authorizes an owner of real estate upon which a betterment assessment is made, to charge a proportionate part, thereof, to a lessee of the premises.
Section 12 of Chapter 80 Establishes a lien for betterment assessments. The lien takes effect upon recording of the order under which the betterments were assessed and continues until October 1 of the second year following the year in which the betterment was first added to a tax bill, or if the betterment is apportioned, the lien will continue until October 1 of the second year following the year in which the last portion was placed on a tax bill. In any event, however, the lien will continue until there has been an alienation of the property. This section contains provisions for continuance of the lien under certain circumstances.
Section 13 of Chapter 80 This is, perhaps the most important section of the betterment law in so far as assessors are concerned, as it prescribes the method of apportioning assessments and adding assessments to real estate tax bills. If the collector certifies to the assessors, that a betterment assessment committed to the collector prior to January 2 of the year of certification, has not been paid and has not been apportioned, the assessors are required to add the assessment or the unpaid balance thereof to the real estate tax bill. Interest at the rate of 5% or 2% more than the rate of interest chargeable to the city or town for the betterment project to which the assessment relates, if so elected by the city or town, shall be computed from the 30th day after the assessment was committed to the
collector, to the date upon which interest becomes due and payable (October 1), and committed with the unpaid assessment. At any time before the assessors have completed the valuation book for the year in which an unpaid assessment will first be added to the tax, the owner of land assessed may request that the betterment be apportioned. The apportionment shall be made into such number of equal portions, not exceeding twenty, as the owner requests, provided that no such portion shall be less than five ($5.00) dollars. The assessors may, if they desire, without request from the owner, make such an apportionment. If an assessment of more than $100.00 has been placed upon an annual tax bill, or if such assessment has been apportioned into less than twenty portions and the first portion has been placed upon an annual tax bill, the assessors may in their discretion, upon request made by the owner before the property is sold or taken for non payment of the
assessment, apportion the unpaid balance into twenty portions. In the year in which the first portion is added to the tax bill, assessors compute interest on the unpaid balance of the assessment from the 30th day after the assessment was originally committed to the collector to October 1 of the year to which the tax bill relates, and commit such interest with the portion of the assessment. In subsequent years, the assessors commit one portion of the assessment together with one year’s interest on the balance of the assessment remaining unpaid. If an owner requests to prepay an apportioned betterment, the assessors issue a special warrant for payment in full, or payment in part, as requested by the owner.
Section 13A of Chapter 80 Authorizes a board assessing a betterment to extend the time for payment of a betterment assessed upon land which is not built upon, either until the land is built upon or for a fixed period of time. Interest at the rate of 4% is required to be paid annually upon the unpaid assessment and the assessment must be paid within three months of the expiration of the extended period.
Section 13B of Chapter 80 Authorizes deferral of payment of a betterment assessed to an owner who qualifies for a deferral of real estate taxes under Chapter 59, Section 5, Clause 41A. The deferral agreement is entered into by the board assessing the betterment. The valuation limit of the deferral under Chapter 59, Section 5, Clause 41A does not apply to the amount of the betterment deferral.
Section 15 of Chapter 80 Authorizes apportionment of a betterment assessment where a parcel of land is divided after the betterment is assessed. The procedure is similar to that for apportionment of a real estate tax on subsequently divided land.
Section 16 of Chapter 80 Authorizes the reassessment of an invalid betterment assessment while the lien is still in effect.
Section 17 of Chapter 80 Prohibits the assessment of betterments except under the provisions of this Chapter of Chapter 80A.