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LETTER: 2.5% Increase Should Be A "No Brainer"

Chasan: "It’s only 39 cents per day increase for functioning police, fire, library, schools, park & recreations, DPW. That should be a no brainer. The price to live in a good town is property taxes."

Town Meeting will have 3 choices to make regarding the town budget for next year. Huge ramifications for the schools and other town departments. Huge!

Choice #1: Increase property taxes by only $144 ($12 per month) – this is the maximum 2.5% levy allowed.

The the following:

  • - 2 more positions – increase of 4.2% in their budget
  • – consultant – increase of 13%
  • – field person, customer service person, consultant – increase 27%
  • Accounting dept. – extra staff – increase 6.2%
  • – – increase 5.3%
  • – increase 8.2%            
  • – 4 firefighters – increase 3.7%

So we are making needed improvements for the whole town. I support this and am willing to pay $144 additional taxes. Keeps our town strong,  keeps property values from going down.  

Choice #2: . Cuts $1.4 million from Choice #1, which increases taxes $86 ($7 per month). There is a difference of $58 between Choice #1 and Choice #2  ($4.80 per month) -  this is the 1.5% levy.  All of the above improvements will be funded. The cuts mainly come from other post employment benefits. The selectmen thought we could wait to fund these benefits.

My question to the School Committee and the parents and other concerned residents is: Are there school services that should be and need to be funded this year over and above the present school budget? Things that can’t wait.    Which meant that cuts were made such as 125 positions = higher class sizes, increased sports fees, lost math and reading and science specialists, less buses = kids getting to school late, cut late busses, cut elementary music, reduced electives at the high school, reduced foreign language at middle schools, reduced AP at the high school, cut Sage program, cut library services, loss of  secretaries, cut guidance and social workers, reduced  maintenance of buildings, cut professional training for teachers. Some students at the high school have no classes for 2-3 hours per day because of high class sizes, achievement below state average, drop out rate higher than state average.  

Here is the vital question to the School Committee: If Town Meeting can get this $1.4 million restored to the budget (2.5% levy), will you make a case to restore some of the items cut that I have outlined above?  We are talking about an extra $58 in property taxes to raise the money. That’s only $4.80 per month.  

Choice #3: Pay no more property taxes next year, than this year. No increase in property taxes of $144. you get to keep $144 in your pocket. What are the Ramifications? Cut $3.8 million. Possible cuts are improvements to the town mentioned above for rebuilding the police, fire, accounting dept, assessor’s dept. health dept.,  plus closing , closing two town beaches, eliminate a fire station, cut town library materials and staff, close , eliminate road maintanence, eliminate storm drain maintenance, cut code enforcement AND cut school budget $2.4 million.  

My question to the School Committee is what, if anything, are you prepared to cut in the schools?   

To me, choice #3 would start us down the slippery slope so that no one would want to buy a house in a town that keeps cutting services, has a lousy police dept., lousy fire dept, poor parks & recreation, crumbling roads, lousy libraries and lousy schools. Property values would go down and property taxes would go down also. Is this what you want for the future of Framingham?  

I say keep our town strong. Don’t start going down hill. Lets move forward, not backward.  It’s only 39 cents per day increase for functioning police, fire, library, schools, park & recreations, DPW. That should be a no brainer. The price to live in a good town is property taxes.    

There is a race for School Committee. On April 3, you will have a choice. Please make sure your candidate supports strong schools and a strong town by advocating for the 2.5% levy, so that we can properly fund vital services.  

Herb Chasan

Town Meeting Member, Precinct 4   

Enzo Rotatori March 02, 2012 at 11:40 AM
Mr. Chasan's support for increased taxes of only 39 cents per day is the "simple math" that recently resulted in the home owner suffering an average $576 property tax increase for FY 2013. " Simple math" mentality will lead Framingham down the road to bankruptcy. The long term financial projection produced by our Town is a must read. This document covers the fiscal years 2012 to 2016. Enzo Rotatori
Brenda Crawshaw March 02, 2012 at 01:23 PM
While I respect Herb's passion for our town, I am wondering where he got the "$144.00" figure. We are looking at an increase of over $500 per year, not $144! And yes, I kinda sorta DO need that $500, thank you very much. What Herb isn't acknowledging in this letter is that the manner in which this increase was extracted is fraught with inconsistency, inexplicable rationales and a shocking lack of transparency. Unfortunately, that strategy is almost always guaranteed to create ill will and an absence of magnanimity. Before these various town departments come to us with their hands out, painting their dire pictures of deterioration and doom, they ALL need to look within and provide proof that they are functioning at their maximum efficiency possible. Some departments already do; others not so much (playing golf during work hours ring a bell?). There needs to be a big cleanup before the Town come to her residents asking for more, more, more.
Jim Rizoli March 02, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Playing golf during work hours! That is nothing compared to paying that same person NOT to to work! Imagine paying a person who has done some questionable things 2 k per week and he's not even here. For what......You either bring him back or fire him! This is a waste of town's money and then some. My question is how long is this foolishness going to continue? Things like this are what makes the town people mad..... Jim@ccfiile.com
dan March 02, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Don't worry, the town has it all figured out – they will probably approve the 1.5% increase, like they were doing us a favor, then come around again and do another home value assessment - trying to get more money from you one way or another.
Derek from Framingham March 02, 2012 at 04:31 PM
I believe a little house cleaning is in order before we talk about any tax increases. First, I propose an immediate freeze on tax increases (that's 0%), until minimally these two issues are addressed: 1. Are the allegations of what the Building Inspector was doing true? As Jim says, if they are not true get him back to work, if they are true he should be fired and Framingham claws back as much as possible - an example needs to be set. The rumors going around say that most of Town Hall knew what the Building Inspector was doing - if that is true an investigation needs to be done on why it was kept under raps. Is it possible that other departments have employees behaving in similar manners? Until that question is sufficiently answered, it is ridiculous to be talking about increasing headcount in any department. 2. Future costs. It was reported that Mulvey was given a large increase in pay (instead of a stipend) as temporary Town Manager. It needs to be reported to the public if switching from stipend to pay raise is going to impact what the town will pay out as a pension. The town should really be told how much she be rewarded in retirement benefits for being a temporary bandaid solution. This is not to say she doesn't deserve some type of stipend for the extra temporary duties - but what will this cost us in total? The public needs to get its head out of the sand, and seeing if the hard earned money they are giving the town is being spent wisely.
Reluctantly Agree March 02, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Three things I'm looking at. First is my property tax bill. It got a lot bigger this year and I don't like that. Second is town services. Schools are declining. Lots of stuff that used to be free now costs extra. Third is my home value. They assessed it at a higher value, but that won't help when I try to sell it. If we fund the 2.5% increase then my property taxes go up a little, the services go a little and hopefully my home value doesn't fall any further. If we fund only the 1.5% increase then the services decline and my home value probably falls. If we don't increase spending at all then I think services fall drastically and my home value plummets. Guess I favor the 2.5% increase. Reluctantly.
Joe Rizoli March 02, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Why do we need more Policemen? Is crime going up? The sign of a healthy community is LESS policemen or are we asking for more BILINGUAL policemen to deal with that criminal activity of those here who can't speak English? More firemen? Why, are more people burning down their houses and apartments? Is their a certain group of people that these fires happen with that is more than the general population? Is there a problem with firemen going into houses that have more people, extra beds, walls and obstructions, wildly run extension cords out windows through rooms thus posing a hazard to these firemen thus causing a risk to these firemen? Just curious. Joe Rizoli
Richard V Whalen March 03, 2012 at 02:49 AM
While I recognize that there are costs that increase that will probably necessitate an increase in taxes, I think that the town employees should recognize that many people that work in the private sector who are not on "fixed incomes" have not had a pay raise or may have taken a pay cut in the past 3 or 4 years. Yet our town employees have gotten raises during this time because it is in their contract.

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