Citizens sue City of Dover over removal of taxcap provision from City Charter
Local residents request the City Council to postpone voting on Dover’s tax cap until the Constitutionality of the existing tax cap provision can bedetermined.
– A group of Dover residents and voters today sued the City of Dover in Strafford County Superior Court. They are requesting injunctiverelief to compel the City Attorney to restore language in the City Charter thatwas improperly taken out as well as a declaratory judgment saying that theCity Attorney cannot amend language in the City Charter without a Courtorder or referendum vote. The suit alleges that the City Attorney removed language from the CityCharter that the voters previously adopted concerning a tax cap, and thatthis was illegal under Part I, Article 39 of the New Hampshire Constitution,because “only upon the approval of the voters… on a referendum” may theCharter be amended. Within the last week, the missing language wasbrought to the attention of the petitioners, Ed Bleiler, David Scott and DonMedbery. They, like other residents of Dover, received no notice that thelanguage was amended, but had to find it for themselves on the City’swebsite.“Dover is ground zero for the tax cap fight,” said Chris Buck, attorney for thePetitioners. “All New Hampshire taxpayers should be concerned about whathappens here, because we’re fighting to make sure that the taxpayers areallowed to implement a tax cap if they choose. The reality is that right now,it is still an open question as to whether the Supreme Court’s decision inCashin v. City of Manchester even applies to Dover or any other city.” The Cashin case involved a tax cap within the context of Manchester’s Boardof Aldermen form of government. Dover has a different form of government,namely a City Council. The Supreme Court also declined to address severalquestions presented at the lower court level and did not clearly rule that alltax caps in the State are preempted by the Legislature. The contention is