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Expect To Pay More in Taxes in 2012; Selectmen Increased Residential Rate 1.75%

Despite frustration and unanswered questions, the Board of Selectmen approved a tax rate increase of 1.75% for fiscal year 2012 for residential property taxpayers.

Monday night, the Board of Selectmen reluctantly approved a residential property tax increase of 1.75% for 2012. In a meeting characterized by frustration and disbelief, Selectmen repeatedly questioned Chief Assessor Daniel Dargon on his numbers.

Under Dargon’s report, assessed home values will go up 3.33% for the average residential homeowner, even as property values have fallen significantly. With a higher tax rate, Dargon projected the average homeowner could see their annual tax bill increase by $364.74.

"I'm just flabbergasted,” said Chair Jason Smith.

"People are going to get killed with a tax increase this year," Selectman Charles Sisitsky said, noting taxes on his own house will go up 7% next year. "How are we going to explain this to people?" he asked.

Dargon said he was surprised himself when he saw the numbers, explaining he's used the same process for determining tax rates every year. He said the town uses appraisal guidelines set out by the state Department of Revenue. He also noted 2010 was an artificial market year due to tax incentives and low interest rates.

However, Smith came back to the same point again on assessed home values.

"I would expect a decrease because if I put my house on the market right now, I would be losing my shirt," Smith said. "And a lot of residents are in the same situation." Shaking his head, he said, "I can't believe we're doing this."

Sisitsky held his head in his hands as he listened, and Selectman Laurie Lee said, "It almost seems like we have a double whammy going on here with both the tax rate going up and the assessments going up.”

Dargon said one major difference in tax rates is losing more of the town’s commercial tax base, which ultimately affects the overall tax rate.

Selectman Ginger Esty pointed out businesses get tax breaks residents don't.

However, Smith said he has voted in the past to lower commercial tax rates because Framingham needs to be competitive with other towns. He believes bringing in more business tax revenue could lower the overall residential tax rate.

Dargon said property assessments are based on more than 100 factors. Among the mix is home sales during 2010, which included 450 sales out of just over 13,000 homes in Framingham.

"That's a very small sample to base the increases on," Sisitsky said.

Massachusetts does not allow those sales numbers to include foreclosures or short sales. Selectmen asked how the numbers would change if those sales were included and asked Dargon to look into it and report back to Selectmen.

During public comments, town meeting member Peter Pleshaw said, "Shame on town meeting members for increasing our taxes every year. . . .Where will it stop?"

In the end, Sisitsky said they had no choice but to shift commercial taxes to the maximum allowable in order to give the least impact to residential property owners.

"We don't have any options,” he said as he proposed a motion to increase the residential property tax rate by 1.75%, resulting in a tax rate of $16.96 for residential property. “That's the best we can do," he said.

The motion passed unanimously, though Smith added, "I do think, from a commercial perspective, that Framingham has lost its game."

Businesses will pay $37.96, per $1,000 in assessed value, up from $37.11.

Bob Berman December 20, 2011 at 03:58 PM
Count me as one of the very few who warned a decade ago that by continually maximizing the commercial rate you will eventually hit the point where you see your commercial base leave. The argument used to be that they will stay because of the location, but we see now that those decisions are based on mainly financial reasons, not ease of commute and shopping/lunch choices. When times were not so bad, we continually went to the maximum commercial rate, now that times are not so good we are paying the price. Decisions consistently made to appease voters at the cost of the most prudent path eventually catch up to you.
Jim Rizoli December 20, 2011 at 04:27 PM
Since 2002 our total tax revenues have increased by approx 40%. Jim@ccfiile.com
Diane Tiger December 20, 2011 at 06:00 PM
That's it? Just resigning to Framingham having "lost its game"? How about developing a strategic plan and showing some leadership to move forward? It's very concerning to hear those with decision making responsibilities seeming to throw in the towel.
Jim Rizoli December 20, 2011 at 06:27 PM
Develope a strategic plan???? LOL They have..... it's called lets bankrupt the residents! I know I'm repeating myself here for the 100th time... Lets not forget the 20 million plus going to educate the children of illegal aliens. That is approx 25% of our whole school budget actually probably more We now have 2800 children who are "English" impaired, in fact they aren't even adequate in their own language and that is why they have to be taught their own language first and then English, a cost well over 20 million. So you don't think this is costing us anything extra? We have been telling you people this for the last 8 years and it just falls on deaf ears. So for all of you who refuse to listen.....you are now paying for your ignorance. Good luck town of Framingham residents because if you think this is going to get better you're dreaming. Sorry for the bad news...but I honestly don't see any good news coming down the pike on this one. Unless you rose colored glasses people have something to show me anything different. jim@ccfiile.com
Walt Magee December 20, 2011 at 06:44 PM
How about voting some of these spenders out of office and electing some strong willed people who will cut spending and ask town employees to pay at least 25% of their ever increasing healthcare. Retired workers in other towns around here pay 50% of their healthcare. And please don't try to tell me property values have gone up.
Joan Haines December 20, 2011 at 07:16 PM
Here we go again. I am not sure my family will beable to stay in Framingham. I was born and raised in this town and it is sad to think that I might have to leave because it is getting worse and worse. If you are not legal you can get everything you need and want and you don't even have to pay taxes because you do not contribute to our town.... Thank you Board of Selectman.
Jim Rizoli December 20, 2011 at 07:59 PM
Thank you Board of Selectman and the voters who put them there! I ran for Selectman twice as a fiscal conservative, and guess what.....you folks chose people that have failed to deliver on their promises of making Framingham an affordable town. My platform.....NO OVERIDES! Which by the might be coming soon, the way things are going. And that is on top of these current increases! If we stopped Framingham from being an illegal sanctuary town for illegal aliens we wouldn't in this situation today. This is a big taker of our money through the schools, amongst other things. This is what you have chosen and I don't see anyone coming forward to save you. I have no interest in the political game anymore....you can't fix stupid! Jim@ccfiile.com
Joe Rizoli December 20, 2011 at 10:06 PM
Framingham could be heading into receivership. How about taxing the money transfer businesses that send money out to other countries. Of course if you accuse the WHO is using these money transfer services that is something that gets one accused of being a "racist" "hater" bla bla bla. Any time you want to see the health of ANY town just check how many of these types of money transfer businesses are in your town.To me it means the town has been compromised. Framingham has a ton of them. Why shouldn't they send the money out, ALL their health issues are FREE, their kids in school, EVERYTHING FREE, lunches, FREE. Do these kids have to pay for school busing? Why shouldn't they have this extra money they don't claim they have because of claiming "indigent", to send back home while leaving our WW2 vets or their spouses on poverty st. In those houses Mr or Misses American knows they can't convert to three family because that would be breaking the law but Illegal "Manuel Da Silva" or is it De Silva, or Silva, will make sure he gets to convert his attic and his cellar to a $1200 a month golden goose and he doesn't have to claim one penny because the house is only registered as a ONE family. Then Manuel multinational goes belly up from day one on his mortgage and leaves the county after getting his FREE rentals for over a year...... God bless America....... Joe Rizoli
Joan Haines December 20, 2011 at 10:50 PM
Thank you again for helping us self employed people dig deeper into our empty pockets. Oops I cant afford my taxes I have to pay my health insurance.
Michael Moore December 21, 2011 at 01:59 PM
Not sure what's surprising here. We're in a recession. Supply exceeds demand for homes, office space and retail space. Naturally prices decline. That's simple economics. Unfortunately costs continue to rise. Health care costs for town employees have skyrocketed. We continue to give raises to town employees far higher than in the private sector. We spurge on $1 million fire trucks. We buy DPW equipment without conscience. We have non-stop sewer and water project costing tens of millions. We continue to pay police overtime for traffic detail that could go to flagmen. So town expenditures rise and rise. So with higher costs and the same, or fewer payers, we each need to pay more and more. Where's the mystery in that? Where is our valiant CFO, who directs Town Meeting to approve all these expenditure? She's the one with the checkbook. And no, it has nothing to do with Brazilians. That's just more idiot Rizoli rhetoric. If the Brazilians weren't here there would certainly be other low income residents in their place. Their apartments would not sit forever vacant. The number of kids in the schools wouldn't change. The number of dwellings and businesses paying property tax wouldn't change.
Jim Rizoli December 21, 2011 at 03:46 PM
MM.......Are you serious? There are 2800 English impaired kids we're talking about here. Most of them are Brazilian...and now other South American ethnicity's. If the parents weren't here there wouldn't be 2800 English impaired kids here.... Maybe five hundred not 2800. Compare Framingham to some other towns and you will see we've got the bulk of the illegals. What don't you get? The town has openly welcomed these border jumpers that have now filled our schools with their children. Can you blame them from coming here? They get free busing, lunches, health care, in some cases housing, you name it they get all these things FREE. Free doesn't mean there isn't someone else paying for it. The Americans aren't the ones having the kids the illegals are don't you get it. You're thinking that someone else would be here if they weren't here is correct....Ya...more illegals. Framingham is a slave work camp that is making some people rich. Jim@ccfiile.com
Joe Rizoli December 21, 2011 at 05:02 PM
This comment from the famous Michael Moore: >>And no, it has nothing to do with Brazilians. That's just more idiot Rizoli rhetoric. If the Brazilians weren't here there would certainly be other low income residents in their place. >> You are right there, from one idiot to another.. Another group of people who either need police assistance for jail patrol or another bunch of Illegals of another nationality that after paying for the information to the last bunch of freeloaders and learning the ropes will be the next financial burden to the town Apparently you people don't get it. The school committee just told you the next problem that is coming our way for the town school wise is that they could lay off teachers great in only one language to those teachers who are bi-lingual. Good luck with that. Don't tell me the burden of extra non-English kids isn't going to exact a monetary toll and cost. You need EXTRA books and materials in those languages that cost MONEY. This isn't about just Brazilians. It's about a sanctuary town that has lost site of what it is any more and that question mark is coming down hard on the taxpayers. This town has become a generational sanctuary town.. Don't worry, You and I all are paying for it through taxes, bus fees and every thing else. Welcome to Framingham. The Illegals are paying for their mortgages down in their countries of origin.... Joe Rizoli

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