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Afton tax rates slammed at appeals hearing

"Don't tax us out of town."

That was the plea from commercial property owners in Afton at the city's Board of Appeals and Equalization hearing on April 15.

James Gasperini, representing Afton Market Square, the Little Red House and Baglio's, addressed the board on the subject of 2009 taxable values on the three buildings.

"At the Market Square, one [lot] increased [in value] by $213,900, and another by 50 percent," he explained.

"The taxes went up by 120.3 percent at the Little Red House and just their rent alone from their one tenant will not cover their taxes.

"At Baglio's it went up 64 percent. They don't even have enough to pay taxes, let alone their rent."

He added that Afton Market Square was in the process of filing with the tax court to ask for mitigation on this year's tax rates because the situation in Afton was so dire.

"It just sounds outrageous to me," said city council member Randy Nelson, commenting on the rate of increase among commercial premises.

Al LaBine, appraisal supervisor for Washington County's assessor division, told the meeting that the commercial department was working with commercial property owners in Afton with a view to renegotiating the rates.