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.