Briefs September 28, 2015
briefs: Linda Penkul, appellant, Pro se.
D. Keating, Esq., Roberts & Shirley Law Offices, Springvale,
for appellee Town of Lebanon.
SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, and
[¶1] Linda Penkul appeals from a judgment of
the Superior Court (York County, Fritzsche, J.)
affirming the decision of the York County Commissioners,
entered after a de novo hearing, denying her request for
abatement of real property taxes assessed by the Town of
Lebanon. On the record before us, we affirm the judgment.
[¶2] On April 1, 2013, Linda Penkul applied
for abatement of real property taxes that the Town of Lebanon
assessed against her property at a rate of $2,456.62 per year
for each of the years 2011, 2012, and 2013. See 36
M.R.S. § 841(2) (2015). Penkul asserted that she
did not have enough income to meet expenses, and she reported
sources of income, assets, debts, and monthly household
[¶3] The Town denied the application for
abatement on the basis that the taxes had been paid. The York
County Commissioners reached the same decision for the same
reason on appeal. See 36 M.R.S. § 844(1)
(2015). Penkul then filed documents in the Superior Court
that the court treated as a complaint for judicial review of
the County Commissioners' decision. See id. ;
M.R. Civ. P. 80B(a). Penkul named the Town as a defendant in
the document that the court treated as her
complaint. The court remanded the matter
in September 2013 because the Town and the Commissioners had
not explained their decisions and may have misunderstood the
applicable law. See 36 M.R.S. § 844(1)
(authorizing reimbursement of taxes already paid if an
abatement is granted). The court " retain[ed]
jurisdiction in the event that further review [was]
[¶4] After a new hearing, the Town again
denied the request for property tax abatement in March 2014.
Penkul appealed to the Commissioners. See id.
Although we do not have a record of the proceedings before
the Commissioners, the Commissioners' decision indicates
that on May 7, 2014, they held a de novo hearing in executive
session at which they accepted into the record all exhibits
presented by the Town as well as Penkul's
testimony. The Commissioners left the record open
to accept documentation from Penkul. According to their
decision, the Commissioners later accepted into the record an
additional 129 pages of exhibits from Penkul.
[¶5] In a written decision issued on May 28,
2014, the Commissioners denied Penkul's application for
abatement for tax years 2011 and 2012, and remanded the
matter to the Town for further action with respect to tax
[¶6] After the Commissioners denied the
application for abatement for the years 2011 and 2012, the
Superior Court, which had " retain[ed]
jurisdiction," considered Penkul's appeal from the
denial of her application for tax abatement.See
id. (authorizing an appeal " from the decision of
the county commissioners" ). Pursuant to the Maine Rules
of Civil Procedure, Penkul had the responsibility to meet
with all other parties before filing her brief to "
agree on the record to be filed" and " ensure the
preparation and filing with the Superior Court of the record
of the proceedings of the governmental agency being
reviewed." M.R. Civ. P. 80B(e)(1)(i), (2). The Superior
Court ordered ...