Tax equity

At the last Selectman’s meeting, there was a public hearing for a proposed changed to town code to provide free boat trailer storage to island residents from May to October.  I blogged about it here.

One of the reasons Sarah Silk keeps giving is that in her opinion island property owners are paying too much in taxes and getting little in return.  She says: “They are paying dearly”.   I take exception to that kind of reasoning, especially from one of our lawmakers.

Love it or hate it, property tax is just that.  It taxes each of us proportional to the value of the property we own.  In return we are guaranteed only one thing – that we will all be treated equally.  It is not a fee-for-service arrangement.

You consider the services that you can expect as a property owner when you decide what you are willing to pay for the property.  It is part of what determines the value of that property, and hence what share of the town’s revenue you will contribute.  It’s all baked into the cake.

I have no axe to grind with island property owners.  This trailer parking thing is a new accommodation being promoted by Sarah Silk to appease half dozen alleged island residents who decided to ignore a longstanding town ordinance against leaving their trailers in the Mast Landing parking lot for more than a week and got ticketed. After calling the police chief on the carpet to explain himself, she wants to reward them with a new program to allow exclusive access to town provided trailer parking. Most folks that I know pay to have their trailers stored at one of the local marinas, and these six scofflaws could easily do the same.

If the Board of Selectmen is going to start making decisions about who is entitled to specific services based on their perception of who is getting their money’s worth for their tax dollars, we’re going to have some serious tax-equity issues coming up.

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2 Responses to Tax equity

  1. Dick mosher says:

    You are right on. Some of our elected officials do not understand the law, and apparently do not really care as long as they can run unapposed and keep their friends happy.The same thing with those politicians who rant about the so-called view tax. It is simply a way to arrive at a fair market value, which is required to determine the ad valorum tax. If politicians want to use another technique to tax property, say tax all property by the area on the ground, and do not tax improvements. That certainly will eliminate arguements about fariness and remove any uncertainly. They, of course, would then have to find another way to punish those people who improve their property. and would have to give up the opportunity to gain votes by dipensing tax related favors.

    Am I bitter about some aspects of the political scene? you bet.

  2. suzanne ryan says:

    Assessed value is suposed to be based on a number of factors (plus and or minus) , such as
    neighborhood, type of land,condition of property and yes view and shore frontage. It is
    for the most part determined by the book, with some human elements. It is what is called
    fair market value at time of valuantion by the town (for which we pay dearly for on a regular
    basis)..which brings me to …I bet that the assessed value given on the island properties is lower
    than what the owners would be willing to sell it for.
    It’s a nice perk the BOS gave them,,the parking lot that we all pay for…wounder if I can leave my
    snowmobile there in the summer when I don’t need it up on the Mt in the winter..
    PS …I have little problem also assessing fees that are legaly allowed for specilized things,, such
    as betterment fees for water/sewer and TIF for downtown and we do have a half way impact fee
    specific to school,,but not broad enough for other infrastructure..but this board does not even want
    to open that discussion..we could have a whole debate on fees…pro and con..for another day.

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