Lyndeborough to repay Wilton $141K

LYNDEBOROUGH – The Superior Court Southern District has ruled that Lyndeborough owes Wilton $141,494 because of an error in computing school cots in 2010.

The error was caused by a change in the formula used in the Articles of Agreement that was not noticed by the state when commuting tax rates.

Judge Kathleen McGuire issued the ruling on Feb. 7, saying it fell under “breach of contract,” as Wilton’s attorney argued, and Wilton was entitled to the money. She did not specify how the repayment was to be made.

The error was not noticed by either board of Selectmen in November 2011 during the 10-day window provided by the Department of Revenue Administration for reporting errors.

Then-Town Administrator Burton Reynolds later discovered the error and notified both Wilton and the School Board.

“We never disputed that we owed it,” Reynolds, currently the acting administrator, said recently. “We just decided to let the court decide how we were to repay it.”

Reynolds said the town had argued that present taxpayers should not be held liable for failures of the past but McGuire said she disagreed, it will not affect different taxpayers than those in 2010.

Since the town budget has already been prepared, Reynolds said an amendment would be offered at Town Meeting to cover the bill. He said the hope is to withdraw the amount from the town’s surplus account so that present taxpayers won’t be affected.

“The details are still being worked out,” he said. “The selectmen will have a full explanation at Town Meeting.”

Reynolds said the town would not appeal the ruling. “We have never disputed that we owe it, we just needed a legal way to repay it and the court has provided that.”

If voters approve the payment, the two boards of selectmen will determine a payment schedule over the next year. Lyndeborough is too small a town to cut a check for that amount all at once.