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June 12, 2013

Atkinson homeowners to receive tax reduction

Residents have lived with dioxane-contaminated wells

ATKINSON — Almost four dozen homeowners who have lived with contaminated water will get a tax break.

Selectmen voted Monday to give 47 homeowners in the Emery Drive neighborhood a 12 percent property tax abatement.

“A number of people have had their property values decrease,” Town Administrator Bill Innes said. “We weren’t required by law to do this, but we had a couple people request an abatement and we decided to apply it to all the affected homes.”

The homes were discovered to be contaminated with dioxane 1,4 in 2011 when the well water was being tested for other substances. Fifteen homes were found to be contaminated with more than 3 micrograms of dioxane and have had bottled water provided to them by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.

Innes said the town’s professional assessor, Rodney Wood, created a formula involving the aggregate values of the homes affected and the cost it will take to repair. The Environmental Protection Agency has committed $2 million to construct a new water line to the affected homes.

The tax relief is welcome news to residents who have struggled over the last two years.

“We’re very pleased with it,” said Sally DiMaggio of 14 Emery Drive. “A lot of residents have been thinking about selling our homes and the impact that this has had would take a huge toll on us.”

DiMaggio said she has had to use bottled water to wash her hands and for cooking.

“It’s been an inconvenience for us for a long time now,” she said.

Jane Shields of 10 Belknap Drive appreciated the selectmen’s actions.

“At times, we kind of felt on our own on an island,” she said. “It’s nice to see the town saying we are in this together and we’ll take care of things for you.”

Selectman Todd Barbera said he was pleased to see things turning around for the affected residents.

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