Friday, May 22, 1998

Take objective view on tax impact

To the Editors;

Like many others, we stayed until the final bell at the recent Town Meeting, feeling that every issue deserved our vote. And we were two of the voters who "turned out in force on echo the sentiments of Town Meeting," as reported by Mary Hult in last week's Mosquito. So it was with great anticipation as we read the results in the paper.

We can't help but take note of the final tallies of the ballot questions, especially those related to Proposition 2-1/2 exemptions. While the merits and compelling need of each issue were clearly articulated by the various committees, the results of the votes say much more than which questions ultimately passed. Clearly, there are a sizable number of voters in Town who have made a statement in voting no for the questions. When 41 percent of the voters voted "no" on the athletic fields (Q. 5) and 30% voted "no" on an additional assessment (Q. 3), perhaps we should pay more attention to what these voters have to say.

From where we sit, even though no one has asked us, our deep-rooted concern is the continued skyrocketing of taxes and the attitude that we will find the money somewhere. When we consider that our own property taxes have gone up over 20 percent in just two years, it's frightening to imagine what will happen if we continue on this track (we're breaking into a cold sweat

that, at this rate, we'll be paying $12,000 in ten years and $52,000 in 25 years!)

All of this is not to argue the merits of new field facilities or the need for new math books, but rather an urging for all of us to stop and take an objective view. Each recently approved question, when isolated, seemingly has minimal impact on our taxes. However, when all of them are approved, the total is over three times the rate of inflation. In future elections, perhaps the Mosquito could do some extrapolations on funding questions and provide figures on tax implications if all questions are approved.

We would urge our newly elected officials to continue to work together cooperatively and keep focused on the big picture. And the rest of us (ourselves included) need to get involved earlier in the budget process and listen to the alert message and voice of reason being sounded by some of our board members.

Finally, when you add up the "yes" and "no" votes on Question 3, they total 911—is there a hidden message?

Larry Bearfield

Robin Emerson

North Road

According to Rena Swezey, administrative assessor, even though the land values increased by 15 percent with the 1998 revaluation, the town's actual tax rate decreased by $.91 per thousand in FY98.