Archive 2008 - 2019

Beware -Budget Blueprint = 7.5% Property Tax Increase

by William Dowd

I've made an effort to be at as many Selectmen and FinCom meetings as possible, and continue to be mystified by much of what's going on.

For example, the three-year "budget blueprint" which the FinCom repeatedly refers to contains an assumed 2.5% property tax increase for each year, for a total 7.5% increase over the "blueprint's" three year timeframe. 

The FinCom likes to refer to the "blueprint’s" 1.5% annual budget guideline, but don't let that distract you from the 2.5% annual property tax increase baked into the plan. Several large budgets like benefits, utilities, fuel oil, debt service among others, fall outside the "guideline" budget process because they are deemed mostly "uncontrollable". The “Blueprint” also assumes no change to state aid or other revenue.

As desirable as it is to formulate multi year financial forecasts, it is still not clear to me why the FinCom insists on assuming the maximum allowable increase property tax increase without an override. Wouldn’t it be great if all of us could build a financial plan for our households that guarantees at 2.5% increase in income every year. 

The School Committee does great pro-active outreach to the community to keep everyone informed about their priorities and activities. Unfortunately, the Selectmen and FinCom do not. It seems they operate on the basis that if you’re interested in something, you’ll go to them.

If you've stayed away from the budget review process leading up to town meeting, you still have time to attend remaining meetings or tune in to televised meetings. Check the Town’s website under “Agendas” to see who is meeting, when they’re meeting and what they’ll be talking about. With all the work that will have been done in the weeks and months leading up to town meeting, its hard to go back to square one on the floor of town meeting. Over $50,000,000 is up for discussion, and one thing is certain – property taxes are going up.

Comments (2)

Some of Mr. Dowd's statements continue to mystify me. The price of EVERYTHING goes up. That is a fact of life and a part of our captialistic economic system. The town is constantly getting saddled with more and more expenses that were formerly covered by the federal and state governments. So yes the budget will go up. If we want to have good employees that provide us with the services we want, we have to pay them a fair wage. These are facts. Mr. Dowd likes frame his agruements as if town officials have no regard for the amount of taxes that people pay in this town. Every official is a citizen and therefore a taxpayer of the town. Does he really think that they don't care about the tax rate? I am happy to see that he is running for FinCom. Perhaps once on the board he will understand that our officials are doing the best the can to supply the town with services that the people want at reasonable costs (key word here reasonable). Will taxes go up? Yep! So will property values, the price of gas, milk, college and everything else. The trick is to to continue the balancing act that we do every year. Learn to appreciate the tme these people donate, unpaid to the town and try supporting a postive approach instead of a steady stream of negetive comments.

Mark Schultz | 2013-04-18 11:07:41

We pay too much in property tax as it is!

Mortimor Wellington | 2013-04-16 08:57:24