Showing posts with label property tax. Show all posts
Showing posts with label property tax. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

"The law surrounding tax takings in Massachusetts is terribly unfair and needs to end"

"The California-based Pacific Legal Foundation is using Foss’s case to challenge a Massachusetts law that lets a municipality seize a property due nonpayment of property taxes, then sell the property and keep any profit above the amount owed. (Municipalities often sell tax liens to for-profit companies like Tallage, which then sell the property.) The foundation filed a lawsuit on Foss’s behalf Tuesday in Suffolk County Superior Court. 

“Instead of returning the extra $210,000 equity that I had, Tallage took my home and kept the equity I had in it, leaving me with absolutely nothing,” Foss said, speaking to reporters outside the Suffolk County courthouse on Tuesday. “I understand the government trying to settle debts that I owe, but giving away my home and all the money I held in it is cruel and wrong.” 

Continue reading the article online
 
State Rep Jeff Roy:
"The law surrounding tax takings in Massachusetts is terribly unfair and needs to end. We have filed H3053 to make takings like a mortgage foreclosure, and restore protections so homeowners receive adequate notice to save their homes."

 Link to the H3053 legislation -> https://malegislature.gov/Bills/192/H3053

Shared from Twitter -> https://twitter.com/jeffroy/status/1508911399824728069

Deborah Foss filed a lawsuit in Suffolk Superior Court on March 29, 2022 challenging the seizure and sale of her home for unpaid property taxes. (Photo by Shira Schoenberg)
Deborah Foss filed a lawsuit in Suffolk Superior Court on March 29, 2022 challenging the seizure and sale of her home for unpaid property taxes. (Photo by Shira Schoenberg)

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Notice from the Treasurer/ Collector: FY 22 Third Quarter Real Estate and Personal Property Tax Bills

Notice from the Treasurer/ Collector: FY 22 Third Quarter Real Estate and Personal Property Tax Bills

Treasurer Collector Kerri A. Bertone has mailed the fiscal 2022 third quarter real estate and personal property tax bills.  Payment is due by February 1, 2022.  Payments received after the due date are charged 14% interest.


Notice from the Treasurer/ Collector: FY 22 Third Quarter Real Estate and Personal Property Tax Bills
Notice from the Treasurer/ Collector: FY 22 Third Quarter Real Estate and Personal Property Tax Bills


Monday, December 6, 2021

Town Council meeting - Dec 1. 2021 - audio in two parts

FM #671-672 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 671-672 in the series. 


This session shares part of the Franklin, MA Town Council meeting held on Wednesday, December 1, 2021

The meeting was conducted in a hybrid format: members of the Town Council and Town Administration personnel were in the Council Chambers, some members of the public participated in person, some via the Zoom conference bridge, all to adhere to the ‘social distancing’ requirements of this pandemic period.

I’ve split the just about two hour into two (2) logical segments:

The show notes contain links to the meeting agenda. Let’s listen to this segment of the Town Council meeting of Dec 1, 2021

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Agenda document ->  https://franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif6896/f/agendas/town_council_agenda_dec_1_2021.pdf

My notes from the meeting  -> https://www.franklinmatters.org/2021/12/recap-town-council-sets-tax-rate-at.html 

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We are now producing this in collaboration with Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio (wfpr.fm) or 102.9 on the Franklin area radio dial. 

This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin but we can't do it alone. We can always use your help.

How can you help?

  • If you can use the information that you find here, please tell your friends and neighbors

  • If you don't like something here, please let me know

Through this feedback loop we can continue to make improvements. I thank you for listening.

For additional information, please visit www.Franklinmatters.org   or www.franklin.news 

If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com

The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana"  c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission.

I hope you enjoy!

------------------

You can also subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters audio on iTunes or your favorite podcast app; search in "podcasts" for "Franklin Matters"

 

Town Council meeting - Dec 1. 2021 - audio in two parts
Town Council meeting - Dec 1. 2021 - audio in two parts

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Town Council Quarterbacking - 12/02/21 - What happened at the Town Council meeting? (audio)

FM #670 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 670 in the series. 

This shares my conversation with Town Council Chair Tom Mercer. This is one of a series of conversations meant to provide a recap of the prior Council meeting. Akin to one of the many sports post-game analysis broadcasts we are familiar with in New England,  this would be a discussion focused on the Franklin Town Council meeting of December 1, 2021: 


  • ok, what just happened? 

  • What does it mean for Franklin residents and taxpayers?


We cover the following key topics

  • Subcommittee assignments announced, meeting calendar approved

  • Tax rate hearing

  • Snow presentation

  • TA Report – NationalGrid


The recording runs about 35 minutes:


Links to the meeting agenda and associated documents released for this meeting are included in the show notes. The link to my notes taken during the meeting is also provided.


Let’s listen to this recording of Town Council Quarterbacking Dec 2, 2021

** Audio file -> 
https://player.captivate.fm/episode/85b955b3-30b4-48da-8224-2a8adc484fe5

--------------


Town Council Agenda document ->  

https://franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif6896/f/agendas/town_council_agenda_dec_1_2021.pdf

 

My notes from the meeting  -> 

https://www.franklinmatters.org/2021/12/recap-town-council-sets-tax-rate-at.html 

--------------


We are now producing this in collaboration with Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio (wfpr.fm) or 102.9 on the Franklin area radio dial.  


This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin but we can't do it alone. We can always use your help.


How can you help?

  • If you can use the information that you find here, please tell your friends and neighbors

  • If you don't like something here, please let me know


Through this feedback loop we can continue to make improvements. I thank you for listening.


For additional information, please visit Franklinmatters.org/ or www.franklin.news/

If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com


The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana"  c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission.


I hope you enjoy!

------------------


You can also subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters audio on iTunes or your favorite podcast app; search in "podcasts" for "Franklin Matters"


Snow presentation
Snow presentation

Friday, December 3, 2021

Recap: Town Council sets tax rate at 14.05; hears of snow removal plans and issues

Quick Recap:
  • Council Chair Tom Mercer announced the subcommittee appointments also including a vice-chair for each committee to help with scheduling. An ad-hoc subcommittee to look at the Rules and Procedures was also announced. The calendar of Council meetings for the upcoming year was formally approved
  • The Council heard the presentation from Kevin Doyle and Chris Feeley then voted to approve the single tax rate at 14.05 for FY 2022
  • DPW Director Cantoreggi provided the annual update on the snow removal plans. Coordination with School Superintendent and Police Chief Lynch is an early morning discussion to decide school opening status. Snow plow contractors are still in short supply and the cost of salt has increased over last year
  • Town Administrator Jamie Hellen provided an update on NationalGrids work on their infrastructure to help mitigate the potential of and recovery from power outages.

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As with most meetings in this pandemic period, I took my notes via Twitter while I attended the meeting in the Council Chambers. 

 

The Twitter hashtag #TC1201 can be found online The thread begins with  

https://twitter.com/FranklinMatters/status/1466194849766559744


Photos from the event can be found in one album:  

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Tz6ekHkG7iH7Nqhb9



Public Hearing on Tax Classification
Annual Snow Removal Presentation
  • next up the annual snow removal presentation  https://franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif6896/f/uploads/8a._presentation_-_snow_brutus.pdf…  #tc1201 special night doing taxes and snow on same night Director "Brutus" Cantoreggi providing insights on the presentation doc (in link)
  • goal to have road with some asphalt and less than inch of ice snow in four hours after the storm finishes #tc1201 58.5" inches last year, about $1M using 5200 tons of salt (est $100K more for salt alone this year)
  • about 35 pieces of equipment on road for storm, approx. $1600/hour  plus contractors at about $10K per hour of storm; contractor shortage with multiple reasons driving it #tc1201
  • check out slide in the presentation on effects of all the issues outlined #tc1201
  • for schools, easier to delay opening, hardest to send home early (parents/guardians aren't ready) #tc1201 
  • be aware of the winter storm parking ban called as needed (once upon a time, used to be all winter)
  • fire hydrant clearing program   https://franklinma.gov/water-sewer-division/pages/adopt-hydrant  #tc1201 volunteer to clear a hydrant in your neighborhood
  • check out the top 10 complaints received during snow storms #tc1201 will use GIS records to determine where fences and irrigation systems are located, if on Town property, not allowed no compensation
  • Question on doing all roads before all sidewalks? it would be another expense, more personnel and equipment would be required; consider that during the road clearing, where does the snow go? to the sidewalks, then you'd have to clear them 2 or 3 times #tc1201
  • remote work actually has increased local traffic, not decreased it; DOT and other looking at the models to adjust accordingly; also did buy salt to finish out the funding last year and leave us this year with full stock to start #tc1201
  • parts and breakage an issue; DPW has trucks on order from last capital that haven't arrived yet likely won't be available for this year #tc1201 CDL is a Federal license not State; hence marijuana testing is a key factor, ok local, but not Federal
  • Chandler likes the change from all winter parking ban to the storm based one; also glad to hear that it is working well; Police coordination helps; usually an issue with first storm but not ones after; #tc1201
  • TA Hellen, thanks to the DPW and staff or all the good work they do; thanks to the residents for your patience  #tc1201
Town Administrator's Report
  • TA Report - pole position request recently handled to help NationalGrid for the infrastructure to help detect power outages, one key piece in final phase of their committed improvements; there are have been improvements recently, hopefully noticed #tc1201
Councilor Comments
  • no future agenda items around; councilor comments - Cormier-Leger, could be saving with municipal aggregation check your bill, thanks to youth hockey and DPW for the common decorations; #tc1201 plug for the FANN directory - https://franklinareanonprofitnetwork.org/p/area-non-profits.html
  • Q on Red Brick School, evaluation to est/plan removal of lead paint as well as basic restorations, should be coming to CPC sometime for prioritization, may not fit some folks timelines but it is what it is #tc1201
  • ability to get a contractor onsite is an issue; no matter how it is funded remains to be a problem with getting this kind of special contract services #tc1201
  • Pellegri thanks to the Concerts on the Common for their work on Santa; ornaments available at Historical Museum; invite to seniors for GATRA feedback, at the Senior Center council hours 3rd Thursday at 8:30 AM  #tc1201
  • Open Mic night - "Love Franklin" at THE BLACK BOX on 12/08/21 link shared earlier https://franklinmatters.org/2021/12/franklin-freedom-team-announces-events.html sign up to read
  • #thinkFranklinFirst gift cards still around (never left) https://franklingiftcard.com #tc1201
  • Hamblen to represent Franklin at MMA training; winter farmer market this Saturday; #tc1201 condolences to the Michigan families of the high school shooting; 
Executive Session
  • motion to enter executive session on property purchase and not to reconvene in open session passes 9-0 via roll

Audio recording of meeting to be available in couple of days

 

snow removal plans and issues
snow removal plans and issues

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

20 Reasons to Not Implement a Dual Tax Rate

20 Reasons to Not Implement a Dual Tax Rate

The issue of whether or not to have a dual tax rate is extremely complex, and can be deceptive. Unfortunately, the way a business is taxed is integrally different from the way a resident is taxed, which results, in itself, in a great deal of confusion. Many proponents do not have all the data needed to be fully informed concerning the long term (and often negative) effects a dual tax rate could consequently have on our local economy and home real estate values. The perception of immediate tax relief to homeowners often overshadows the true downwardly spiraling “ripple effect” such a move typically has on the local economy over time.

The United Regional Chamber of Commerce ask that you help us in our efforts to educate residents and businesses alike concerning the impact of a dual tax rate by reading the attached, which is a partial listing of the some of the many reasons why a dual tax rate would be a very bad idea in Franklin.

  1. A dual tax rate raises no additional money for essential Town services. NONE WHATSOEVER. The total tax levy in any city or town in Massachusetts is set by “Proposition 2 ½” regulations and the level of new growth in a town. Again, the total amount of overall tax dollars raised does not change in any way under a dual tax rate system.

  2. When property valuations increase overall, the dollar tax rate is lowered. Noting an often increasing valuation every three years, residents can become fearful that their overall tax bills will increase dramatically and in proportion to the amount their assessed value has been raised. However, this is not the case. The tax rate is, of necessity, lowered when this happens, as a direct result of the higher valuations, due to a fixed set total tax levy end amount. Indeed, in the last fifteen years in Franklin, the real value of the average single-family home in Town has more than doubled (from $175,000 to 385,000, or about 200%). Yet the tax bill of the average single-family homeowner has only increased by about 50% (from $2,406 to $3,530).

  3. Of 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts, only about 100 or so, at any given time, have a dual tax rate in effect. There are many reasons why less than 30% of towns and cities in the state opt for a dual tax rate, some of which are detailed here.

  1. There is a known statistical ratio of number of for profit businesses to number of taxable residential units that should trigger a close look at whether a dual tax rate starts to make sense or not for a certain community, which is 30% business to 70% residential. Only if a town has reached the well-documented 30% level, and has among its major business taxpayers businesses that are difficult to move - such as power plants, or vast shopping malls - only then does it make sense to consider a dual tax rate. Franklin meets neither of these criteria.

  2. The current tax system is already neither fair nor equitable for businesses, for businesses pay toward such items as the Town’s school system and trash pick-up services, which they do not use. Residents have always received a greater value, dollar for dollar, from their tax payments, and still do so even now. Going to a dual tax classification system would further increase the inequity, would be a great injustice, and additionally continue to skew the ratio of payments made to services and benefits received.

  3. Under a dual tax rate system, because there is a ratio of approximately 80 homeowners per every 20 businesses in Franklin, homeowners would only see a small decrease in their taxes, whereas businesses would see a raise of some four times that, due to the 4 to 1 ratio.

  4. Over time, a dual tax rate may well decrease the amount of money available to the municipality for essential Town services, because it is a strong disincentive to local economic development, which is the real backbone of the overall tax base.

  5. Almost all local professionals and businesses have already suffered greatly from the poor economy nation-wide.

  6. Businesses and professionals have many costs of doing business that are invisible to the consumers, such as ever-increasing insurances costs (for property, errors and emissions, and health insurance coverage); licensing fees; innumerable additional taxes and fees; etc., on all levels, town, state and federal.

  7. In fact, Massachusetts is now known as one of the worst states, and many say the worst state, to do business in within the nation.

  8. If you look around Town, you will see many underutilized buildings and vacancies in our office parks and our Downtown; vacancies that are often of a long-term nature. You do not, however, see many houses vacant for long; houses turn over relatively quickly in Franklin, despite higher home values.

  9. A split tax rate is a significant sign to new and existing businesses that a Town is not “business-friendly”. It is often one of the first, if not the first, question that new businesses ask when looking to locate in a particular town.

  10. Conversely, a split tax rate is also an incentive to build more residential homes in a Town, which further increases the demands and burdens on a Town’s resources, such as the schools; whereas business growth adds to the tax base without utilizing a lot of these already limited resources. Overcrowding of schools is only one impact, although one of the most visible, of adding more homes in a town.

  1. Franklin does not face competition solely from other in-state communities to attract and retain necessary professionals, businesses and retail operations. In fact, many states in the country “court” our existing businesses and offer special incentives for them to relocate there. Furthermore, many businesses are moving entirely to other countries, whose governments are also courting them, such as Mexico, India or many of the Asian nations, where the cost of labor and other normal costs of doing business are so much lower. It is a fallacy to think that companies cannot or will not “jump ship”. They have and will.

  2. Some 80% of U.S. businesses are considered “small” businesses. Over 85% of United Chamber of Commerce members have five employees or fewer; and many are family run. Yet, because of triple-net leasing, unless a business or professional owns their own building (and most do not) they would most likely not be exempted from paying the burden of an increased dual tax rate under a split tax system. Also, even If they do own their own building, but do not solely occupy it, or do not meet other strict requirements, they might well have to pay the higher tax rate. The often cited “exemption for small business” - sometimes mentioned by proponents of a dual tax structure as a panacea for smaller businesses - goes only to those who meet certain low numbers of employees or low business values.

  3. Going to a dual tax rate can initiate a viscous cycle. Because business taxes are based differently from residential taxes (which are based on real estate property values), when the value of a business goes down – which it often does because of a higher tax rate – the commercial/industrial property tax base itself erodes, resulting in less and less tax dollars emanating from businesses. It is important to note that due to the nature of the commercial tax structure - which is mandated by law - the real value of the very entity that the commercial taxes are determined by often then decreases, and can continue to decreaseeach year under a split tax rate system. As the overall commercial tax base erodes, it is entirely possible that the entire tax base could slowly erode with it, yet the need for critical municipal services, including police, fire and school departments, is still strong. Ultimately, home values can suffer over the long term, as a town becomes known as a less desirable place to live. While a dual tax format may seem as though it is a good way to temporarily “spread the pain” or “soften the blow” of increasing residential taxes, in the long term, it generally is not.

  4. Families in Franklin utilize local stores, businesses or professionals, who could then be forced to increase their pricing of goods and services to help combat their payment of any extra taxes. Town residents, in turn, would then pay more for these items. Ironically, the cost of these goods or services often has no tax deductibility, whereas property taxes do.

  5. Many area families are employed by local businesses, and employees suffer when their employer suffers, usually through loss of income and/or benefits.

  6. The vast number of local companies contribute greatly to our local youth and civic programs currently. Yet, when they are struggling to exist, they often cannot afford to give generously; and, if they are out of business, or have moved out of town, they will not be here to give anything at all.

  1. Assessed real estate values have escalated only because the true worth of residential property values in Town have escalated sharply. Home equity is a real and viable asset to homeowners, and companies doing business in our Town should not be penalized because of this; the values of their businesses have traditionally not gone up in times of a sluggish national marketplace, but rather down.
Thanks to Jack Lank, President of the United Regional Chamber of Commerce for confirming that while the numbers referenced may have changed since this was first shared here (2007), the arguments are still what he uses in conversation on this topic today. 

United Regional web page -> https://unitedregionalchamber.org/



The Franklin Matters view on the tax rate data ->


20 Reasons to Not Implement a Dual Tax Rate