AND MORE TAXES
We are going to convene a legislative session in May. We call it the Annual Town Meeting, (ATM). Since this is a legislative session and we are the legislators I am going to treat it as such. When a legislator introduces legislation they typically have co-sponsors and the bill is named after the co sponsors. In our case a bill can be compared to an article on the ATM Warrant. In that spirit I'm going to call these bills by the name of the people sponsoring them. I figure if a person has the audacity to ask the town to take on an additional 3% in property tax then they shouldn't mind having their name attached to it.
First let’s go over the Susan Bachelder/Dave Johnson Property Tax Increase. As you know Susan gave an impassioned presentation on adopting the Community Preservation Act (CPA) in our town. Susan, Dave Johnson and four members of the planning board went to a dinner for town officials to learn about the CPA. Susan said that they all went away enthusiastic about the program. Of course they were all enthusiastic; they are the boards and committees that will be spending the monies. Once the CPA is implemented those special projects that could never get passed at the ATM can be done without approval of the town. Essentially this act would create a slush fund for all those projects that the town voted down. Susan had all the buzzwords down. She called it a surcharge, a wonderful financing mechanism and a great way to get matching funds. But let’s face it, IT’S A TAX INCREASE.
Now let’s talk about the Juliette Hass Water Tax. I call it this because there isn't a year that goes by that Juliette doesn't ask the taxpayers to “be a good neighbor” and foot the bill for the mismanaged water company. I know the town took over billing and things are getting better. However, as long as the person who lost hundreds of thousands of our tax dollars is still running the water company it is still being mismanaged. Let me remind you, we're already doing our good neighbor deed in that we subsidize the water company to the tune of 80k per year. So please don't imply that the only way to be a good neighbor is to pay for the entire water company debt. It’s insulting to all of your good neighbors. By the way I have a question, if the water users are in such need of financial aid, why would we want to impose a CPA tax on them. Doesn't that seem inconsistent? They can't afford the water but they can afford to pay the CPA tax. Maybe I just don't understand.
Personally I think it’s a bad idea to raise any new taxes; especially in these hard economic times. There are a lot of people in our town still reeling from the effects of the recession. With many families having to work several jobs just to keep what they have; to impose another tax is unconscionable. Yet, we have people who really don't concern themselves with what it costs the poorer taxpayer as long as they get their pet projects done. If the future brings a better economic situation then these issues can be raised again. But they should be put before the town at a proper town meeting; not folded into a slush fund that doesn't even have to be approved by the townspeople.
Here’s what I think.
As a postscript, Charlie Flynn chimed in on the CPA issue and he thinks it’s a great idea. He said “it provides a venue to do things in this town we've always wanted to do and have never been able to do”. What Charlie really meant is that it creates a “financing mechanism” (SLUSH FUND), for funding projects that they have never been able to get approved at town meeting. Rather than inundate you with too much information, I’ll wait until next post to talk about the Charlie Flynn tax and other important budget items.