Natural gas assessment inequity already has been decided in court
Regarding the natural gas line assessments, this January, Superior Court Judge Huguelet stated: “The city’s assessment with respect to condominium owners is arbitrary and unreasonable.” He ordered the city of Homer to correct Ordinance 13-02. Everyone thought the legal battle was over. However, several of us have approached the city and been told the city considers the case as “isolated” and assessing will not change.
Enstar, a private company, entered into a contract with the city of Homer allowing Enstar to install their distribution line in our streets and right of ways, giving each lot access. Enstar also contracted with the city to bill the cost recovery of their gas line. Enstar did not tell Homer how to do it.
Homer had several ways to recover the gas line costs: road frontage, property value, lot sizes or per lot. Assessment using property values, lot area or road frontage was complicated. Per lot was quick and easy and the city could use a property owners list provided by the borough.
However, when the city came to condo properties, they did not assess condominum associations. They changed from “per lot” to “per condominium owner.” For instance, The Landings complex faced a city assessment of approximately $70,000. If The Landings was an apartment building or a hotel, a gas station, vacant, a restaurant, home or business complex, the assessment would only be $3,283.80. It was “per lot” until condos were singled out and it changed to “per owner.”
It was this inequity that went to court this past winter. You all know the outcome. What has it cost the Homer taxpayers to reach this point?
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