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Essex budgets $80K for Lewis suit

Sandy Lewis, center, has filed a complaint in court against the town of Essex over the assessed value of two of the six parcels that make up the Lewis Family Farm there.

Sandy Lewis, center, has filed a complaint in court against the town of Essex over the assessed value of two of the six parcels that make up the Lewis Family Farm there. Photo by Katherine Clark.

— Lewis said that he hired Donald Fisher to help him appraise the parcels and give him numbers to work with in the suit, stating that he has extensive experience in agricultural appraisals. He also said that he is willing to give the town their findings.

“It’s about having a professional approach,” Lewis said. “You can disagree with numbers, but when you look at the professional approach against another approach, who do you think wins? We will have the best people working on this and I will not seek to influence them.”

“Don is looking at the entire farm operation, including the other four parcels, to make his appraisal,” Baillie said.

Lewis added that he did have numbers in mind that he would see as satisfactory for the parcels.

“I bought the house for $75,000 and not much has changed in it since,” Lewis said. “I do not have an exact number for the other property, but I can sey that it is a lot lower than what it is now.”

Currently, the six parcels total $5,333,512 in assessed value, of which the two disputed parcels are assessed at $5,224,012.

According Essex County Tax History and under the $6,033,190 previous assessed value of the 1,111-acre parcel, Lewis paid $34,094 in 2011 town and county taxes ($30,507 from the larger parcel and $2,922 from the estate), as well as $46,842 in 2010-11 school taxes ($41,612 on the larger parcel, $4,082 on the estate).

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