FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Rose Fortuna,

 

Complainant

 

against Docket #FIC 88‑285

 

Chairman, Middletown Board of Tax Review,

 

Respondent November 9, 1988

 

The above‑captioned matter was heard as a contested case on September 1, 1988 at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.

 

After consideration of the entire record the following findings of fact and law are made:

 

1. The respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1‑18a(a), G.S.

 

2. By letter dated May 26, 1988 to the Middletown Tax Assessor, the complainant requested information and explanation relating to the disallowance by the Middletown Board of Tax Review of her March 22, 1988 petition for correction of the assessed value of her residential property.

 

3. By letter dated May 31, 1988 to the complainant, the Tax Assessor answered 12 of her 14 information requests and indicated that he did not have information available in his office to answer the remaining two information requests. The Tax Assessor appended to his letter copies of the complainant's current tax assessment card and 12‑62, G.S., records which were responsive to but not specifically requested in the complainant's May 26, 1988 letter.

 

4. By letter dated June 3, 1988 to the respondent, the complainant requested explanation and information relating to the assessment of her property.

 

Docket #FIC 88‑285 Page 2

 

5. By letter dated June 3, 1988 to the Tax Assessor, the complainant made eight requests for explanation and information relating to the assessment of her property specifically and tax assessment generally, and one request for "the first revaluation chart‑‑United Appraisal [Company] did ten years ago."

 

6. By letter dated June 8, 1988 to the complainant, the Tax Assessor:

 

a. answered three of the complainant's information requests,

 

b. supplied documents or referred to documents previously supplied in answer to two of the complainant's information requests,

 

c. referred complainant to other agencies in response to two of her information requests,

 

d. invited the complainant to inspect the Office of the Tax Assessor's records in response to one of her requests, and

 

e. stated, "No such charts available" in response to the complainant's request for the document described in Paragraph 5 herein.

 

7. By letter dated June 28, 1988 to the respondent, complainant renewed her requests for explanation and information contained in her letter dated June 3, 1988 to the respondent.

 

8. By letter dated July 5, 1988 to the complainant, the respondent stated his understanding that the Tax Assessor had responded to all of her requests.

 

9. By letter of complaint dated July 12, 1988 and filed with the Commission on July 13, 1988, the complainant appealed the respondent's failure to provide explanation relating to the asessment of her property

 

10. By Motion to Dismiss dated August 5, 1988 and filed with the Commission on August 9, 1988, the respondent moved that the complainant's appeal be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

 

11. It is found that the complainant is dissatisfied with the information and explanation provided by the Tax Assessor and desires additional and/or different explanation from the respondent.

 

Docket #FIC 88‑285 Page 3

 

12. It is concluded, however, that the complainant's letter of June 28, 1988 to the respondent cannot under the circumstances of this case reasonably be construed as a request for access to or copies of public records.

 

13. It is therefore concluded that the respondent has not denied the complainant any right to inspect or copy records under Conn. Gen. Stat. 1‑19.

 

14. It is therefore concluded that the Commission lacks jurisdiction to hear this complaint.

 

The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above‑captioned complaint:

 

1. The complaint is hereby dismissed.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of November 9, 1988.

 

 

Catherine H. Lynch

Acting Clerk of the Commission