TOWN OF EDDINGTON et al.
Argued: November 15, 2017
Charles E. Gilbert, III, Esq. (orally), and Erik M.P. Black,
Esq., Gilbert & Greif, P.A., Bangor, for appellants Town
of Eddington and Town of Bradley
P. Silk, Esq. (orally), and Rebecca Gray Klotzle, Esq.,
Curtis Thaxter LLC, Portland, for appellee Emera Maine
N. Gersen, Esq., Maine Municipal Association, Augusta, for
amicus curiae Maine Municipal Association
Gilman, Esq., Maine State Chamber of Commerce, Augusta, for
amicus curiae Maine State Chamber of Commerce
SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, HJELM, and
The Town of Eddington and the Town of Bradley appeal from a
judgment entered in the Superior Court (Kennebec County,
Murphy, J.) affirming the decision of the State
Board of Property Tax Review granting Emera Maines request
for a property tax abatement for the 2012 tax year pursuant
to 36 M.R.S. § 841(1) (2016). The Towns challenge the
Boards finding that Emeras error in estimating a value for
and reporting ownership of a transmission line that Emera did
not own resulted in an "illegality, error or
irregularity in assessment, " rather than an "error
in the valuation of property." See 36 M.R.S.
§ 841(1). Because the evidence supports the Boards
findings, we affirm the judgment.
The following facts are taken from the stipulations presented
by the parties or found by the Board. Emera Maine is in the
business of transporting and distributing electric power over
transmission lines. There are two 345 kV transmission
lines located in the Towns of Eddington and Bradley: Line 390
and Line 396. Emera owns Line 390. Maine Electric Power
Company (MEPCO) owns Line 396.
In the years at issue, 2011 to 2013, Emera was responsible
for submitting to municipalities lists that itemized the
mileage and value of the 345 kV transmission lines owned by
Emera in each Town. The purpose of these lists was to provide
each Town with the description and value of the property
owned by Emera so that the Towns could use the reported
property value to assess property taxes.
[¶4] In 2012, an accountant at Emera was responsible for
preparing the lists to submit to the Towns. To get an
accurate and up-to-date account of the property owned by
Emera in each Town, the accountant contacted Emeras IT
department to obtain an inventory report of Emeras 345 kV
transmission lines. The report provided to the accountant
indicated that in Eddington Emera owned 4.56 miles of Line
390 and 5.311 miles of Line 396, for a total of 9.871 miles
of 345 kV transmission line, and in Bradley Emera owned 11.7
miles of Line 390 and 6.827 miles of Line 396, for a total of
18.527 miles of 345 kV transmission line.
Believing that Emera owned all of the 345 kV line mentioned
in the report, the accountant added the mileage of Lines 390
and 396 together for a total length of 18.527 miles of 345 kV
transmission line, with a value of $23, 453, 829.53, in
Bradley and 9.871 miles of 345 kV transmission line, with a
value of $12, 495, 965.42, in Eddington.
After Emeras 2012 lists were submitted to the Towns, the
assessor for each Town called Emeras accountant to inquire
about the significant increase in valuation from prior years
and to confirm that the valuation was correct. The ...