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State Supreme Court Sides with Towns in Dispute Over Utility Taxes

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The New Hampshire Supreme Court has settled a dispute between towns and electric companies in the state over how to appraise the value of land used by utilities.

Last Friday, the state’s highest court ruled in favor of 60 towns across New Hampshire that argued they should be the ones to appraise the land used by utilities in their towns.

Power companies Eversource and New Hampshire Electric Coop argued that a different appraisal of the property, done by the state, is more accurate.

That state appraisal would result in a lower tax burden for the companies.

Cordell Johnston with the New Hampshire Municipal Association supported the towns in the dispute.

“The town appraisers are in a much better position because they actually do look at the property that’s located in the individual town and say: this is the value,” says Johnston.

A legislative effort backed by utility companies to change the appraisal method also failed earlier this year.

Jason Moon is a senior reporter and producer on the Document team. He has created longform narrative podcast series on topics ranging from unsolved murders, to presidential elections, to secret lists of police officers.

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