To the Editor:

On April 26, I attended the hearing on the proposal to add a .58 mil increase to the current rate. This will bring the new rate to 35.14.

The Superintendent of Schools spoke in support of the school budget increase, as did the Town Manager and the other department heads, as to why they needed the increase. 

During public participation, three residents spoke against the proposed increase. Next up, the Town Council members made their cases. 

Two of the members, who were for keeping the increase, made comments several times that it’s a small increase. With the average assessed property value of $166,276, a homeowner would expect to pay only an extra $96 a year in new taxes.

What they did not say was, what about a home assessed higher. 

You will pay more. Also, other personal property like cars, trailers, motorcycles, boats - those taxes will also increase. It’s funny how those other increases were left out.

There was also a mention of using other town monies (federal dollars) available to help offset this small increase, but that was also left out. 

With the comment made, let the people decide. In my mind I heard let’s not use the extra town dollars, lets get more from the people. 

I commend the four Council members that attempted to help the citizens with some tax relief.

I spoke in opposition to any tax increase given the current state of the economy. Four Council members voted for a zero increase. 

Unfortunately, five members voted to have this small increase put to the people on the May 17 referendum.

I cannot tell you how to vote, you will have to decide that for yourselves, but in my opinion any increase no matter how it’s spun should be rejected.

Mark O’Brien

Watertown

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