[LincolnTalk] Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

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[LincolnTalk] Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

Dennis Liu

Dear fellow Lincolnites:

 

When the new school proposal was being discussed, some folks here were Cassandras – warning that the increase in the tax rate would result in much higher property taxes.  Heck, even the *proponents* of the new school construction were agreeing that tax rates were going to go up significantly.  Several folks even sent emails around on this very point, offering calculations and calculators for residents to see what their personal property tax impact would be.

 

So if you read any of those (more than a few) warnings, should you really be “surprised” at how much your taxes went up?

 

Looking at our property tax bill today, the rate went from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019 to $15.36/$1,000 in 2020.  THAT IS A 9.5% INCREASE IN YOUR TAX RATE.

 

The median house value in Lincoln, per Zillow, is $1,084,900.  Which translates into a tax increase of $1,443 for 2020 (and at least that much each year going forward).  And, of course, because that’s the median price, half of Lincoln is looking at a tax increase of more – or much more than that.

 

But since this was heavily discussed and debated before the school vote, we shouldn’t be surprised, right?

 

Well, I don’t recall any discussion about implementing the “residential exemption” option that Jennifer Glass just sent around this afternoon, as part of the work of the Property Tax Study Committee (the “Committee”).

 

This never came up in Lincoln Talk, and – please, someone correct me if I’m wrong – this came up with the Committee only in late spring 2019, months AFTER the school vote, as part of the Committee’s Public Forum (I had to dig out that date and document).

 

One should read the summary that Jennifer provided (pasted below).  In a nutshell, the Board of Selectman can vote to INCREASE TAXES YET AGAIN, on the “rich” people in town, to benefit the “poor” people in town.  All without a town vote.  As a result of the increase in property taxes resulting for the school building vote.

 

Put another way – town residents were offered an opportunity to vote, yay or nay, on a very expensive new school project, with a tax increase calculation so that, at least, they could see how much their wallets would get hit for it.

 

Now, less than a year later, some of those same town residents are facing the possibility of being forced to pay EVEN MORE in taxes than was promised – all without a further vote by the town.  Just a simple majority vote by the Selectman.

 

Is no one else outraged by this?  Or are people simply falling in line with the promises made by certain presidential candidates – you can have free this and free that, all without paying a penny, simply because the “rich” will pay for it?  We’ll just tax “the rich”, and you will benefit, so vote for me!  (All of this without explaining how the math would work, since even seizing ALL of the wealth of the “rich”, as these candidates have called out, would not generate enough funding for their pet projects.)

 

The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.

 

When you voted in the town meeting on the new school building, did you think that your taxes might go up by 58.2%?

 

Do you think it’s right and fair that Lincoln could, choose to impose an ex post facto tax increase on 40% of the town?  Without another town-wide vote? 

 

Do you think that, since all of the tax increase figures were *known* prior to the school building vote, that any possibility of enacting the “residential exemption” option should have been highlighted before the school vote? 

 

Am I the only person that’s outraged that this is even on the table?

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Lincoln <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of Jennifer Glass via Lincoln
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 4:35 PM
To: LincolnTalk <[hidden email]>
Subject: [LincolnTalk] So you’ve seen your latest property tax bill...

 

Property Tax Study Committee 

Public Forum #2: Tuesday, October 15th, 7:00 - 8:30pm

Donaldson Room, Town Offices

 

Recognizing that the bond for the school project could have a disproportionately large financial impact on some Lincoln residents, the Property Tax Study Committee was appointed by the Board of Selectmen last January (https://www.lincolntown.org/1084/Property-Tax-Study-Committee). Its charge is to:

  • Understand, to the extent practicable, the scope and types of community needs.
  • Research and understand the implications of tax programs that are currently supported by state law, or are under consideration.
  • Seek input from the community to understand the appetite for such programs in the context of other town priorities.
  • Understand how private fundraising efforts could best be utilized to help those with demonstrated financial need.

The Committee has focused on two possible tax programs:

  1. Residential Exemption
  2. A local extension of the state Circuit Breaker program

Below is the article about these options that was published in the September edition of the Board of Selectmen’s newsletter. (To read the entire newsletter, click:  BOS News)

 

Please join us on October 15th to learn more, ask questions, and provide feedback!

 

Jennifer Glass, for the Committee

 

Property Tax Study Committee

The Study Committee held its first public forum on June 18th. Using Lincoln’s vision statement as a framework, the Committee shared information about Lincoln’s demographics, available information about economic need, and the current utilization of existing tax abatement programs.  

The Committee also introduced two additional programs the Town could consider pursuing:

  1. Residential Exemption
    • A local option property tax exemption that is set at 0% - 35% of the Town’s average residential property value. The chosen % gets translated into a fixed amount that is deducted from every eligible residential assessment before the tax rate is applied.
    • The exemption applies only to owner-occupied properties.
    • The tax rate is then increased to make the program revenue-neutral.
    • All residential taxpayers (including owners of rental properties) pay the increased tax rate to keep the total tax levy the same; commercial properties are excluded.
    • The effect is to reduce taxes on eligible properties with valuations below a break-even point; it raises taxes on properties above the break-even point (roughly 60% of properties would be below and about 40% would be above the break-even point).
    • There are no age or income requirements.
    • May be enacted by a vote of the Selectmen; no additional approval requirements.

 


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To post, send mail to [hidden email].
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June 18 Property Tax Forum.pdf (3M) Download Attachment
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Re: [LincolnTalk] Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

Bijoy Misra
Friends,
From the town meeting on the tax increase it appeared that many had already made up their
minds to leave town.  The procrastinators would potentially be homeless in a few years.
I don't know if Town has a service for people in imposed financial stress.  It would be a
good test for the town in housing and in social welfare.
Bijoy Misra

On Wed, Oct 2, 2019 at 7:40 PM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Dear fellow Lincolnites:

 

When the new school proposal was being discussed, some folks here were Cassandras – warning that the increase in the tax rate would result in much higher property taxes.  Heck, even the *proponents* of the new school construction were agreeing that tax rates were going to go up significantly.  Several folks even sent emails around on this very point, offering calculations and calculators for residents to see what their personal property tax impact would be.

 

So if you read any of those (more than a few) warnings, should you really be “surprised” at how much your taxes went up?

 

Looking at our property tax bill today, the rate went from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019 to $15.36/$1,000 in 2020.  THAT IS A 9.5% INCREASE IN YOUR TAX RATE.

 

The median house value in Lincoln, per Zillow, is $1,084,900.  Which translates into a tax increase of $1,443 for 2020 (and at least that much each year going forward).  And, of course, because that’s the median price, half of Lincoln is looking at a tax increase of more – or much more than that.

 

But since this was heavily discussed and debated before the school vote, we shouldn’t be surprised, right?

 

Well, I don’t recall any discussion about implementing the “residential exemption” option that Jennifer Glass just sent around this afternoon, as part of the work of the Property Tax Study Committee (the “Committee”).

 

This never came up in Lincoln Talk, and – please, someone correct me if I’m wrong – this came up with the Committee only in late spring 2019, months AFTER the school vote, as part of the Committee’s Public Forum (I had to dig out that date and document).

 

One should read the summary that Jennifer provided (pasted below).  In a nutshell, the Board of Selectman can vote to INCREASE TAXES YET AGAIN, on the “rich” people in town, to benefit the “poor” people in town.  All without a town vote.  As a result of the increase in property taxes resulting for the school building vote.

 

Put another way – town residents were offered an opportunity to vote, yay or nay, on a very expensive new school project, with a tax increase calculation so that, at least, they could see how much their wallets would get hit for it.

 

Now, less than a year later, some of those same town residents are facing the possibility of being forced to pay EVEN MORE in taxes than was promised – all without a further vote by the town.  Just a simple majority vote by the Selectman.

 

Is no one else outraged by this?  Or are people simply falling in line with the promises made by certain presidential candidates – you can have free this and free that, all without paying a penny, simply because the “rich” will pay for it?  We’ll just tax “the rich”, and you will benefit, so vote for me!  (All of this without explaining how the math would work, since even seizing ALL of the wealth of the “rich”, as these candidates have called out, would not generate enough funding for their pet projects.)

 

The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.

 

When you voted in the town meeting on the new school building, did you think that your taxes might go up by 58.2%?

 

Do you think it’s right and fair that Lincoln could, choose to impose an ex post facto tax increase on 40% of the town?  Without another town-wide vote? 

 

Do you think that, since all of the tax increase figures were *known* prior to the school building vote, that any possibility of enacting the “residential exemption” option should have been highlighted before the school vote? 

 

Am I the only person that’s outraged that this is even on the table?

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Lincoln <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of Jennifer Glass via Lincoln
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 4:35 PM
To: LincolnTalk <[hidden email]>
Subject: [LincolnTalk] So you’ve seen your latest property tax bill...

 

Property Tax Study Committee 

Public Forum #2: Tuesday, October 15th, 7:00 - 8:30pm

Donaldson Room, Town Offices

 

Recognizing that the bond for the school project could have a disproportionately large financial impact on some Lincoln residents, the Property Tax Study Committee was appointed by the Board of Selectmen last January (https://www.lincolntown.org/1084/Property-Tax-Study-Committee). Its charge is to:

  • Understand, to the extent practicable, the scope and types of community needs.
  • Research and understand the implications of tax programs that are currently supported by state law, or are under consideration.
  • Seek input from the community to understand the appetite for such programs in the context of other town priorities.
  • Understand how private fundraising efforts could best be utilized to help those with demonstrated financial need.

The Committee has focused on two possible tax programs:

  1. Residential Exemption
  2. A local extension of the state Circuit Breaker program

Below is the article about these options that was published in the September edition of the Board of Selectmen’s newsletter. (To read the entire newsletter, click:  BOS News)

 

Please join us on October 15th to learn more, ask questions, and provide feedback!

 

Jennifer Glass, for the Committee

 

Property Tax Study Committee

The Study Committee held its first public forum on June 18th. Using Lincoln’s vision statement as a framework, the Committee shared information about Lincoln’s demographics, available information about economic need, and the current utilization of existing tax abatement programs.  

The Committee also introduced two additional programs the Town could consider pursuing:

  1. Residential Exemption
    • A local option property tax exemption that is set at 0% - 35% of the Town’s average residential property value. The chosen % gets translated into a fixed amount that is deducted from every eligible residential assessment before the tax rate is applied.
    • The exemption applies only to owner-occupied properties.
    • The tax rate is then increased to make the program revenue-neutral.
    • All residential taxpayers (including owners of rental properties) pay the increased tax rate to keep the total tax levy the same; commercial properties are excluded.
    • The effect is to reduce taxes on eligible properties with valuations below a break-even point; it raises taxes on properties above the break-even point (roughly 60% of properties would be below and about 40% would be above the break-even point).
    • There are no age or income requirements.
    • May be enacted by a vote of the Selectmen; no additional approval requirements.

 

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To post, send mail to [hidden email].
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Browse the archives at https://pairlist9.pair.net/mailman/private/lincoln/.
Change your subscription settings at https://pairlist9.pair.net/mailman/listinfo/lincoln.


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To post, send mail to [hidden email].
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Re: [LincolnTalk] Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

samattes
Please note that there has a committee that has been meeting to discuss this-the Property Tax Study Committee.
A meeting on Oct. 15 will roll out what has been learned to date about current status na and what options the town might adopt.
Jennifer Glass recently posted information about this on LT, and the Selectman’s most recent newsletter also addressed this.
Please review materials and attend the OCt. 15 forum as a precursor tot the State of the Town discussion.
All this will lead to choices posed in a. Warrant article or Town Meeting, and a potential ballot advisory question.

Please take much of the alarmist posts with a grain of salt (sugar?).
Some of the calculations are just plain wrong!
There are choices and the town can be a part of a discussion as to what makes most sense for the whole.

Please review materials and come to both the Oct. 15 forum and the SoTT to discuss.

Think about who we are today, and who we want to be tomorrow.
What is “community character?”
What do we want to preserve and what are the trade-offs to do so?

Let’s come together to discuss and discuss as how best to advise.

In solidarity,
Sara Mattes







On Oct 2, 2019, at 9:20 PM, Bijoy Misra <[hidden email]> wrote:

Friends,
From the town meeting on the tax increase it appeared that many had already made up their
minds to leave town.  The procrastinators would potentially be homeless in a few years.
I don't know if Town has a service for people in imposed financial stress.  It would be a
good test for the town in housing and in social welfare.
Bijoy Misra

On Wed, Oct 2, 2019 at 7:40 PM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Dear fellow Lincolnites:

 

When the new school proposal was being discussed, some folks here were Cassandras – warning that the increase in the tax rate would result in much higher property taxes.  Heck, even the *proponents* of the new school construction were agreeing that tax rates were going to go up significantly.  Several folks even sent emails around on this very point, offering calculations and calculators for residents to see what their personal property tax impact would be.

 

So if you read any of those (more than a few) warnings, should you really be “surprised” at how much your taxes went up?

 

Looking at our property tax bill today, the rate went from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019 to $15.36/$1,000 in 2020.  THAT IS A 9.5% INCREASE IN YOUR TAX RATE.

 

The median house value in Lincoln, per Zillow, is $1,084,900.  Which translates into a tax increase of $1,443 for 2020 (and at least that much each year going forward).  And, of course, because that’s the median price, half of Lincoln is looking at a tax increase of more – or much more than that.

 

But since this was heavily discussed and debated before the school vote, we shouldn’t be surprised, right?

 

Well, I don’t recall any discussion about implementing the “residential exemption” option that Jennifer Glass just sent around this afternoon, as part of the work of the Property Tax Study Committee (the “Committee”).

 

This never came up in Lincoln Talk, and – please, someone correct me if I’m wrong – this came up with the Committee only in late spring 2019, months AFTER the school vote, as part of the Committee’s Public Forum (I had to dig out that date and document).

 

One should read the summary that Jennifer provided (pasted below).  In a nutshell, the Board of Selectman can vote to INCREASE TAXES YET AGAIN, on the “rich” people in town, to benefit the “poor” people in town.  All without a town vote.  As a result of the increase in property taxes resulting for the school building vote.

 

Put another way – town residents were offered an opportunity to vote, yay or nay, on a very expensive new school project, with a tax increase calculation so that, at least, they could see how much their wallets would get hit for it.

 

Now, less than a year later, some of those same town residents are facing the possibility of being forced to pay EVEN MORE in taxes than was promised – all without a further vote by the town.  Just a simple majority vote by the Selectman.

 

Is no one else outraged by this?  Or are people simply falling in line with the promises made by certain presidential candidates – you can have free this and free that, all without paying a penny, simply because the “rich” will pay for it?  We’ll just tax “the rich”, and you will benefit, so vote for me!  (All of this without explaining how the math would work, since even seizing ALL of the wealth of the “rich”, as these candidates have called out, would not generate enough funding for their pet projects.)

 

The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.

 

When you voted in the town meeting on the new school building, did you think that your taxes might go up by 58.2%?

 

Do you think it’s right and fair that Lincoln could, choose to impose an ex post facto tax increase on 40% of the town?  Without another town-wide vote? 

 

Do you think that, since all of the tax increase figures were *known* prior to the school building vote, that any possibility of enacting the “residential exemption” option should have been highlighted before the school vote? 

 

Am I the only person that’s outraged that this is even on the table?

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Lincoln <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of Jennifer Glass via Lincoln
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 4:35 PM
To: LincolnTalk <[hidden email]>
Subject: [LincolnTalk] So you’ve seen your latest property tax bill...

 

Property Tax Study Committee 

Public Forum #2: Tuesday, October 15th, 7:00 - 8:30pm

Donaldson Room, Town Offices

 

Recognizing that the bond for the school project could have a disproportionately large financial impact on some Lincoln residents, the Property Tax Study Committee was appointed by the Board of Selectmen last January (https://www.lincolntown.org/1084/Property-Tax-Study-Committee). Its charge is to:

  • Understand, to the extent practicable, the scope and types of community needs.
  • Research and understand the implications of tax programs that are currently supported by state law, or are under consideration.
  • Seek input from the community to understand the appetite for such programs in the context of other town priorities.
  • Understand how private fundraising efforts could best be utilized to help those with demonstrated financial need.

The Committee has focused on two possible tax programs:

  1. Residential Exemption
  2. A local extension of the state Circuit Breaker program

Below is the article about these options that was published in the September edition of the Board of Selectmen’s newsletter. (To read the entire newsletter, click:  BOS News)

 

Please join us on October 15th to learn more, ask questions, and provide feedback!

 

Jennifer Glass, for the Committee

 

Property Tax Study Committee

<image001.png>

The Study Committee held its first public forum on June 18th. Using Lincoln’s vision statement as a framework, the Committee shared information about Lincoln’s demographics, available information about economic need, and the current utilization of existing tax abatement programs.  

The Committee also introduced two additional programs the Town could consider pursuing:

  1. Residential Exemption
    • A local option property tax exemption that is set at 0% - 35% of the Town’s average residential property value. The chosen % gets translated into a fixed amount that is deducted from every eligible residential assessment before the tax rate is applied.
    • The exemption applies only to owner-occupied properties.
    • The tax rate is then increased to make the program revenue-neutral.
    • All residential taxpayers (including owners of rental properties) pay the increased tax rate to keep the total tax levy the same; commercial properties are excluded.
    • The effect is to reduce taxes on eligible properties with valuations below a break-even point; it raises taxes on properties above the break-even point (roughly 60% of properties would be below and about 40% would be above the break-even point).
    • There are no age or income requirements.
    • May be enacted by a vote of the Selectmen; no additional approval requirements.

 

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Browse the archives at https://pairlist9.pair.net/mailman/private/lincoln/.
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To post, send mail to [hidden email].
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Re: [LincolnTalk] Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

Bijoy Misra
Sara,
I agree that some of us sound cynic.
I do see some pragmatism in cynic voices.
It is possible that some would fall through the cracks.
We may not know the potential impact of a major overhead on a limited-income elderly family.
As you say, we have to be optimists in spite of hurricanes.
Best regards,
Bijoy 

On Wed, Oct 2, 2019 at 9:42 PM Sara Mattes <[hidden email]> wrote:
Please note that there has a committee that has been meeting to discuss this-the Property Tax Study Committee.
A meeting on Oct. 15 will roll out what has been learned to date about current status na and what options the town might adopt.
Jennifer Glass recently posted information about this on LT, and the Selectman’s most recent newsletter also addressed this.
Please review materials and attend the OCt. 15 forum as a precursor tot the State of the Town discussion.
All this will lead to choices posed in a. Warrant article or Town Meeting, and a potential ballot advisory question.

Please take much of the alarmist posts with a grain of salt (sugar?).
Some of the calculations are just plain wrong!
There are choices and the town can be a part of a discussion as to what makes most sense for the whole.

Please review materials and come to both the Oct. 15 forum and the SoTT to discuss.

Think about who we are today, and who we want to be tomorrow.
What is “community character?”
What do we want to preserve and what are the trade-offs to do so?

Let’s come together to discuss and discuss as how best to advise.

In solidarity,
Sara Mattes







On Oct 2, 2019, at 9:20 PM, Bijoy Misra <[hidden email]> wrote:

Friends,
From the town meeting on the tax increase it appeared that many had already made up their
minds to leave town.  The procrastinators would potentially be homeless in a few years.
I don't know if Town has a service for people in imposed financial stress.  It would be a
good test for the town in housing and in social welfare.
Bijoy Misra

On Wed, Oct 2, 2019 at 7:40 PM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Dear fellow Lincolnites:

 

When the new school proposal was being discussed, some folks here were Cassandras – warning that the increase in the tax rate would result in much higher property taxes.  Heck, even the *proponents* of the new school construction were agreeing that tax rates were going to go up significantly.  Several folks even sent emails around on this very point, offering calculations and calculators for residents to see what their personal property tax impact would be.

 

So if you read any of those (more than a few) warnings, should you really be “surprised” at how much your taxes went up?

 

Looking at our property tax bill today, the rate went from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019 to $15.36/$1,000 in 2020.  THAT IS A 9.5% INCREASE IN YOUR TAX RATE.

 

The median house value in Lincoln, per Zillow, is $1,084,900.  Which translates into a tax increase of $1,443 for 2020 (and at least that much each year going forward).  And, of course, because that’s the median price, half of Lincoln is looking at a tax increase of more – or much more than that.

 

But since this was heavily discussed and debated before the school vote, we shouldn’t be surprised, right?

 

Well, I don’t recall any discussion about implementing the “residential exemption” option that Jennifer Glass just sent around this afternoon, as part of the work of the Property Tax Study Committee (the “Committee”).

 

This never came up in Lincoln Talk, and – please, someone correct me if I’m wrong – this came up with the Committee only in late spring 2019, months AFTER the school vote, as part of the Committee’s Public Forum (I had to dig out that date and document).

 

One should read the summary that Jennifer provided (pasted below).  In a nutshell, the Board of Selectman can vote to INCREASE TAXES YET AGAIN, on the “rich” people in town, to benefit the “poor” people in town.  All without a town vote.  As a result of the increase in property taxes resulting for the school building vote.

 

Put another way – town residents were offered an opportunity to vote, yay or nay, on a very expensive new school project, with a tax increase calculation so that, at least, they could see how much their wallets would get hit for it.

 

Now, less than a year later, some of those same town residents are facing the possibility of being forced to pay EVEN MORE in taxes than was promised – all without a further vote by the town.  Just a simple majority vote by the Selectman.

 

Is no one else outraged by this?  Or are people simply falling in line with the promises made by certain presidential candidates – you can have free this and free that, all without paying a penny, simply because the “rich” will pay for it?  We’ll just tax “the rich”, and you will benefit, so vote for me!  (All of this without explaining how the math would work, since even seizing ALL of the wealth of the “rich”, as these candidates have called out, would not generate enough funding for their pet projects.)

 

The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.

 

When you voted in the town meeting on the new school building, did you think that your taxes might go up by 58.2%?

 

Do you think it’s right and fair that Lincoln could, choose to impose an ex post facto tax increase on 40% of the town?  Without another town-wide vote? 

 

Do you think that, since all of the tax increase figures were *known* prior to the school building vote, that any possibility of enacting the “residential exemption” option should have been highlighted before the school vote? 

 

Am I the only person that’s outraged that this is even on the table?

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Lincoln <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of Jennifer Glass via Lincoln
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 4:35 PM
To: LincolnTalk <[hidden email]>
Subject: [LincolnTalk] So you’ve seen your latest property tax bill...

 

Property Tax Study Committee 

Public Forum #2: Tuesday, October 15th, 7:00 - 8:30pm

Donaldson Room, Town Offices

 

Recognizing that the bond for the school project could have a disproportionately large financial impact on some Lincoln residents, the Property Tax Study Committee was appointed by the Board of Selectmen last January (https://www.lincolntown.org/1084/Property-Tax-Study-Committee). Its charge is to:

  • Understand, to the extent practicable, the scope and types of community needs.
  • Research and understand the implications of tax programs that are currently supported by state law, or are under consideration.
  • Seek input from the community to understand the appetite for such programs in the context of other town priorities.
  • Understand how private fundraising efforts could best be utilized to help those with demonstrated financial need.

The Committee has focused on two possible tax programs:

  1. Residential Exemption
  2. A local extension of the state Circuit Breaker program

Below is the article about these options that was published in the September edition of the Board of Selectmen’s newsletter. (To read the entire newsletter, click:  BOS News)

 

Please join us on October 15th to learn more, ask questions, and provide feedback!

 

Jennifer Glass, for the Committee

 

Property Tax Study Committee

<image001.png>

The Study Committee held its first public forum on June 18th. Using Lincoln’s vision statement as a framework, the Committee shared information about Lincoln’s demographics, available information about economic need, and the current utilization of existing tax abatement programs.  

The Committee also introduced two additional programs the Town could consider pursuing:

  1. Residential Exemption
    • A local option property tax exemption that is set at 0% - 35% of the Town’s average residential property value. The chosen % gets translated into a fixed amount that is deducted from every eligible residential assessment before the tax rate is applied.
    • The exemption applies only to owner-occupied properties.
    • The tax rate is then increased to make the program revenue-neutral.
    • All residential taxpayers (including owners of rental properties) pay the increased tax rate to keep the total tax levy the same; commercial properties are excluded.
    • The effect is to reduce taxes on eligible properties with valuations below a break-even point; it raises taxes on properties above the break-even point (roughly 60% of properties would be below and about 40% would be above the break-even point).
    • There are no age or income requirements.
    • May be enacted by a vote of the Selectmen; no additional approval requirements.

 

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Re: [LincolnTalk] Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

samattes
I am urging all to become familiar with the facts!

There is an opportunity to learn them and to weigh in.

Idle (and provocative) chatter on LincolnTalk will not advance any issues.
We need to engage at deeper level and participate beyond this forum!

On Oct 2, 2019, at 10:43 PM, Bijoy Misra <[hidden email]> wrote:

Sara,
I agree that some of us sound cynic.
I do see some pragmatism in cynic voices.
It is possible that some would fall through the cracks.
We may not know the potential impact of a major overhead on a limited-income elderly family.
As you say, we have to be optimists in spite of hurricanes.
Best regards,
Bijoy 

On Wed, Oct 2, 2019 at 9:42 PM Sara Mattes <[hidden email]> wrote:
Please note that there has a committee that has been meeting to discuss this-the Property Tax Study Committee.
A meeting on Oct. 15 will roll out what has been learned to date about current status na and what options the town might adopt.
Jennifer Glass recently posted information about this on LT, and the Selectman’s most recent newsletter also addressed this.
Please review materials and attend the OCt. 15 forum as a precursor tot the State of the Town discussion.
All this will lead to choices posed in a. Warrant article or Town Meeting, and a potential ballot advisory question.

Please take much of the alarmist posts with a grain of salt (sugar?).
Some of the calculations are just plain wrong!
There are choices and the town can be a part of a discussion as to what makes most sense for the whole.

Please review materials and come to both the Oct. 15 forum and the SoTT to discuss.

Think about who we are today, and who we want to be tomorrow.
What is “community character?”
What do we want to preserve and what are the trade-offs to do so?

Let’s come together to discuss and discuss as how best to advise.

In solidarity,
Sara Mattes







On Oct 2, 2019, at 9:20 PM, Bijoy Misra <[hidden email]> wrote:

Friends,
From the town meeting on the tax increase it appeared that many had already made up their
minds to leave town.  The procrastinators would potentially be homeless in a few years.
I don't know if Town has a service for people in imposed financial stress.  It would be a
good test for the town in housing and in social welfare.
Bijoy Misra

On Wed, Oct 2, 2019 at 7:40 PM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Dear fellow Lincolnites:

 

When the new school proposal was being discussed, some folks here were Cassandras – warning that the increase in the tax rate would result in much higher property taxes.  Heck, even the *proponents* of the new school construction were agreeing that tax rates were going to go up significantly.  Several folks even sent emails around on this very point, offering calculations and calculators for residents to see what their personal property tax impact would be.

 

So if you read any of those (more than a few) warnings, should you really be “surprised” at how much your taxes went up?

 

Looking at our property tax bill today, the rate went from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019 to $15.36/$1,000 in 2020.  THAT IS A 9.5% INCREASE IN YOUR TAX RATE.

 

The median house value in Lincoln, per Zillow, is $1,084,900.  Which translates into a tax increase of $1,443 for 2020 (and at least that much each year going forward).  And, of course, because that’s the median price, half of Lincoln is looking at a tax increase of more – or much more than that.

 

But since this was heavily discussed and debated before the school vote, we shouldn’t be surprised, right?

 

Well, I don’t recall any discussion about implementing the “residential exemption” option that Jennifer Glass just sent around this afternoon, as part of the work of the Property Tax Study Committee (the “Committee”).

 

This never came up in Lincoln Talk, and – please, someone correct me if I’m wrong – this came up with the Committee only in late spring 2019, months AFTER the school vote, as part of the Committee’s Public Forum (I had to dig out that date and document).

 

One should read the summary that Jennifer provided (pasted below).  In a nutshell, the Board of Selectman can vote to INCREASE TAXES YET AGAIN, on the “rich” people in town, to benefit the “poor” people in town.  All without a town vote.  As a result of the increase in property taxes resulting for the school building vote.

 

Put another way – town residents were offered an opportunity to vote, yay or nay, on a very expensive new school project, with a tax increase calculation so that, at least, they could see how much their wallets would get hit for it.

 

Now, less than a year later, some of those same town residents are facing the possibility of being forced to pay EVEN MORE in taxes than was promised – all without a further vote by the town.  Just a simple majority vote by the Selectman.

 

Is no one else outraged by this?  Or are people simply falling in line with the promises made by certain presidential candidates – you can have free this and free that, all without paying a penny, simply because the “rich” will pay for it?  We’ll just tax “the rich”, and you will benefit, so vote for me!  (All of this without explaining how the math would work, since even seizing ALL of the wealth of the “rich”, as these candidates have called out, would not generate enough funding for their pet projects.)

 

The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.

 

When you voted in the town meeting on the new school building, did you think that your taxes might go up by 58.2%?

 

Do you think it’s right and fair that Lincoln could, choose to impose an ex post facto tax increase on 40% of the town?  Without another town-wide vote? 

 

Do you think that, since all of the tax increase figures were *known* prior to the school building vote, that any possibility of enacting the “residential exemption” option should have been highlighted before the school vote? 

 

Am I the only person that’s outraged that this is even on the table?

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Lincoln <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of Jennifer Glass via Lincoln
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 4:35 PM
To: LincolnTalk <[hidden email]>
Subject: [LincolnTalk] So you’ve seen your latest property tax bill...

 

Property Tax Study Committee 

Public Forum #2: Tuesday, October 15th, 7:00 - 8:30pm

Donaldson Room, Town Offices

 

Recognizing that the bond for the school project could have a disproportionately large financial impact on some Lincoln residents, the Property Tax Study Committee was appointed by the Board of Selectmen last January (https://www.lincolntown.org/1084/Property-Tax-Study-Committee). Its charge is to:

  • Understand, to the extent practicable, the scope and types of community needs.
  • Research and understand the implications of tax programs that are currently supported by state law, or are under consideration.
  • Seek input from the community to understand the appetite for such programs in the context of other town priorities.
  • Understand how private fundraising efforts could best be utilized to help those with demonstrated financial need.

The Committee has focused on two possible tax programs:

  1. Residential Exemption
  2. A local extension of the state Circuit Breaker program

Below is the article about these options that was published in the September edition of the Board of Selectmen’s newsletter. (To read the entire newsletter, click:  BOS News)

 

Please join us on October 15th to learn more, ask questions, and provide feedback!

 

Jennifer Glass, for the Committee

 

Property Tax Study Committee

<image001.png>

The Study Committee held its first public forum on June 18th. Using Lincoln’s vision statement as a framework, the Committee shared information about Lincoln’s demographics, available information about economic need, and the current utilization of existing tax abatement programs.  

The Committee also introduced two additional programs the Town could consider pursuing:

  1. Residential Exemption
    • A local option property tax exemption that is set at 0% - 35% of the Town’s average residential property value. The chosen % gets translated into a fixed amount that is deducted from every eligible residential assessment before the tax rate is applied.
    • The exemption applies only to owner-occupied properties.
    • The tax rate is then increased to make the program revenue-neutral.
    • All residential taxpayers (including owners of rental properties) pay the increased tax rate to keep the total tax levy the same; commercial properties are excluded.
    • The effect is to reduce taxes on eligible properties with valuations below a break-even point; it raises taxes on properties above the break-even point (roughly 60% of properties would be below and about 40% would be above the break-even point).
    • There are no age or income requirements.
    • May be enacted by a vote of the Selectmen; no additional approval requirements.

 

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Re: [LincolnTalk] Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

Dennis Liu
In reply to this post by samattes

Here’s a shorter version of Sara’s note below:

 

“Let’s get together to form a committee, because committees are awesome, and governments work best when we all get together, and decide whether to increase taxes on SOME of the people in town, so as to reduce taxes for SOME of the other people in town.”  😊

 

Here are some bedrock truths, whether one likes them or not:

 

  1. Taxes have to go up to cover the very expensive school building project the town voted in favor of.
  2. We cannot at this point materially change the total amount of taxes needed to cover everything (the school building plus the other town budget items).
  3. Therefore, the only thing we can do – and the only two things that the Committee is contemplating – is to shift the tax burden among town residents, to one group that the committee/selectmen, in their wisdom, deem “should pay less”, from one group that are deemed “rich enough to afford to pay more.”

 

Oh, there is no doubt some nuance and complexity and context and color one could add to any of those three planks of truth.  But as I read the Committee’s output, those three truths are carved in stone.

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Sara Mattes <[hidden email]>
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 9:42 PM
To: Bijoy Misra <[hidden email]>
Cc: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>; Joanna Owen Schmergel via Lincoln <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

 

Please note that there has a committee that has been meeting to discuss this-the Property Tax Study Committee.

A meeting on Oct. 15 will roll out what has been learned to date about current status na and what options the town might adopt.

Jennifer Glass recently posted information about this on LT, and the Selectman’s most recent newsletter also addressed this.

Please review materials and attend the OCt. 15 forum as a precursor tot the State of the Town discussion.

All this will lead to choices posed in a. Warrant article or Town Meeting, and a potential ballot advisory question.

 

Please take much of the alarmist posts with a grain of salt (sugar?).

Some of the calculations are just plain wrong!

There are choices and the town can be a part of a discussion as to what makes most sense for the whole.

 

Please review materials and come to both the Oct. 15 forum and the SoTT to discuss.

 

Think about who we are today, and who we want to be tomorrow.

What is “community character?”

What do we want to preserve and what are the trade-offs to do so?

 

Let’s come together to discuss and discuss as how best to advise.

 

In solidarity,

Sara Mattes

 

 

 

 

 

 



On Oct 2, 2019, at 9:20 PM, Bijoy Misra <[hidden email]> wrote:

 

Friends,

From the town meeting on the tax increase it appeared that many had already made up their

minds to leave town.  The procrastinators would potentially be homeless in a few years.

I don't know if Town has a service for people in imposed financial stress.  It would be a

good test for the town in housing and in social welfare.

Bijoy Misra

 

On Wed, Oct 2, 2019 at 7:40 PM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Dear fellow Lincolnites:

 

When the new school proposal was being discussed, some folks here were Cassandras – warning that the increase in the tax rate would result in much higher property taxes.  Heck, even the *proponents* of the new school construction were agreeing that tax rates were going to go up significantly.  Several folks even sent emails around on this very point, offering calculations and calculators for residents to see what their personal property tax impact would be.

 

So if you read any of those (more than a few) warnings, should you really be “surprised” at how much your taxes went up?

 

Looking at our property tax bill today, the rate went from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019 to $15.36/$1,000 in 2020.  THAT IS A 9.5% INCREASE IN YOUR TAX RATE.

 

The median house value in Lincoln, per Zillow, is $1,084,900.  Which translates into a tax increase of $1,443 for 2020 (and at least that much each year going forward).  And, of course, because that’s the median price, half of Lincoln is looking at a tax increase of more – or much more than that.

 

But since this was heavily discussed and debated before the school vote, we shouldn’t be surprised, right?

 

Well, I don’t recall any discussion about implementing the “residential exemption” option that Jennifer Glass just sent around this afternoon, as part of the work of the Property Tax Study Committee (the “Committee”).

 

This never came up in Lincoln Talk, and – please, someone correct me if I’m wrong – this came up with the Committee only in late spring 2019, months AFTER the school vote, as part of the Committee’s Public Forum (I had to dig out that date and document).

 

One should read the summary that Jennifer provided (pasted below).  In a nutshell, the Board of Selectman can vote to INCREASE TAXES YET AGAIN, on the “rich” people in town, to benefit the “poor” people in town.  All without a town vote.  As a result of the increase in property taxes resulting for the school building vote.

 

Put another way – town residents were offered an opportunity to vote, yay or nay, on a very expensive new school project, with a tax increase calculation so that, at least, they could see how much their wallets would get hit for it.

 

Now, less than a year later, some of those same town residents are facing the possibility of being forced to pay EVEN MORE in taxes than was promised – all without a further vote by the town.  Just a simple majority vote by the Selectman.

 

Is no one else outraged by this?  Or are people simply falling in line with the promises made by certain presidential candidates – you can have free this and free that, all without paying a penny, simply because the “rich” will pay for it?  We’ll just tax “the rich”, and you will benefit, so vote for me!  (All of this without explaining how the math would work, since even seizing ALL of the wealth of the “rich”, as these candidates have called out, would not generate enough funding for their pet projects.)

 

The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.

 

When you voted in the town meeting on the new school building, did you think that your taxes might go up by 58.2%?

 

Do you think it’s right and fair that Lincoln could, choose to impose an ex post facto tax increase on 40% of the town?  Without another town-wide vote? 

 

Do you think that, since all of the tax increase figures were *known* prior to the school building vote, that any possibility of enacting the “residential exemption” option should have been highlighted before the school vote? 

 

Am I the only person that’s outraged that this is even on the table?

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Lincoln <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of Jennifer Glass via Lincoln
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 4:35 PM
To: LincolnTalk <[hidden email]>
Subject: [LincolnTalk] So you’ve seen your latest property tax bill...

 

Property Tax Study Committee 

Public Forum #2: Tuesday, October 15th, 7:00 - 8:30pm

Donaldson Room, Town Offices

 

Recognizing that the bond for the school project could have a disproportionately large financial impact on some Lincoln residents, the Property Tax Study Committee was appointed by the Board of Selectmen last January (https://www.lincolntown.org/1084/Property-Tax-Study-Committee). Its charge is to:

  • Understand, to the extent practicable, the scope and types of community needs.
  • Research and understand the implications of tax programs that are currently supported by state law, or are under consideration.
  • Seek input from the community to understand the appetite for such programs in the context of other town priorities.
  • Understand how private fundraising efforts could best be utilized to help those with demonstrated financial need.

The Committee has focused on two possible tax programs:

  1. Residential Exemption
  2. A local extension of the state Circuit Breaker program

Below is the article about these options that was published in the September edition of the Board of Selectmen’s newsletter. (To read the entire newsletter, click:  BOS News)

 

Please join us on October 15th to learn more, ask questions, and provide feedback!

 

Jennifer Glass, for the Committee

 

Property Tax Study Committee

<image001.png>

The Study Committee held its first public forum on June 18th. Using Lincoln’s vision statement as a framework, the Committee shared information about Lincoln’s demographics, available information about economic need, and the current utilization of existing tax abatement programs.  

The Committee also introduced two additional programs the Town could consider pursuing:

  1. Residential Exemption
    • A local option property tax exemption that is set at 0% - 35% of the Town’s average residential property value. The chosen % gets translated into a fixed amount that is deducted from every eligible residential assessment before the tax rate is applied.
    • The exemption applies only to owner-occupied properties.
    • The tax rate is then increased to make the program revenue-neutral.
    • All residential taxpayers (including owners of rental properties) pay the increased tax rate to keep the total tax levy the same; commercial properties are excluded.
    • The effect is to reduce taxes on eligible properties with valuations below a break-even point; it raises taxes on properties above the break-even point (roughly 60% of properties would be below and about 40% would be above the break-even point).
    • There are no age or income requirements.
    • May be enacted by a vote of the Selectmen; no additional approval requirements.

 

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Re: [LincolnTalk] Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

Lincoln mailing list
Dennis,

I am not outraged- at least not any more.  I went through my period of outrage several years ago when I finally  realized that the town committees and boards in large part did not possess the genuine concern to ask even the simplest of questions of its citizenry regarding this issue. “How much of a percentage increase in your tax bill do you feel you can support for a school building project before you seriously question your ability or desire to remain in this town?”  This question is so fundamentally simple and could have been asked town-wide at any time from 2011-2016. But there was one teeny tiny problem -people didn’t want the answer.

There were folks who felt strongly that a new school was needed  all now and all at once- no matter the costs. There were also folks who felt strongly that the school and campus should look the way they, and not the State deemed it should look-no matter the costs. And these two groups worked well together. And now we have what we have.   How many homes are on the market now?  Do we think this issue will get better as a result of a change in tax policy?  

I send this email with great hesitation. I don’t mean at all to insult anyone who has ever volunteered for this town. But I also know that I asked at least four times for that question to be sent out - and the stares I got were shocking. I was too unfamiliar with the Lincoln Way it seemed. It eats me up inside.

Vincent
Please excuse spelling or syntax errors



On Wed, Oct 2, 2019 at 10:59 PM -0400, "Dennis Liu" <[hidden email]> wrote:

Here’s a shorter version of Sara’s note below:

 

“Let’s get together to form a committee, because committees are awesome, and governments work best when we all get together, and decide whether to increase taxes on SOME of the people in town, so as to reduce taxes for SOME of the other people in town.”  😊

 

Here are some bedrock truths, whether one likes them or not:

 

  1. Taxes have to go up to cover the very expensive school building project the town voted in favor of.
  2. We cannot at this point materially change the total amount of taxes needed to cover everything (the school building plus the other town budget items).
  3. Therefore, the only thing we can do – and the only two things that the Committee is contemplating – is to shift the tax burden among town residents, to one group that the committee/selectmen, in their wisdom, deem “should pay less”, from one group that are deemed “rich enough to afford to pay more.”

 

Oh, there is no doubt some nuance and complexity and context and color one could add to any of those three planks of truth.  But as I read the Committee’s output, those three truths are carved in stone.

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Sara Mattes <[hidden email]>
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 9:42 PM
To: Bijoy Misra <[hidden email]>
Cc: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>; Joanna Owen Schmergel via Lincoln <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

 

Please note that there has a committee that has been meeting to discuss this-the Property Tax Study Committee.

A meeting on Oct. 15 will roll out what has been learned to date about current status na and what options the town might adopt.

Jennifer Glass recently posted information about this on LT, and the Selectman’s most recent newsletter also addressed this.

Please review materials and attend the OCt. 15 forum as a precursor tot the State of the Town discussion.

All this will lead to choices posed in a. Warrant article or Town Meeting, and a potential ballot advisory question.

 

Please take much of the alarmist posts with a grain of salt (sugar?).

Some of the calculations are just plain wrong!

There are choices and the town can be a part of a discussion as to what makes most sense for the whole.

 

Please review materials and come to both the Oct. 15 forum and the SoTT to discuss.

 

Think about who we are today, and who we want to be tomorrow.

What is “community character?”

What do we want to preserve and what are the trade-offs to do so?

 

Let’s come together to discuss and discuss as how best to advise.

 

In solidarity,

Sara Mattes

 

 

 

 

 

 



On Oct 2, 2019, at 9:20 PM, Bijoy Misra <[hidden email]> wrote:

 

Friends,

From the town meeting on the tax increase it appeared that many had already made up their

minds to leave town.  The procrastinators would potentially be homeless in a few years.

I don't know if Town has a service for people in imposed financial stress.  It would be a

good test for the town in housing and in social welfare.

Bijoy Misra

 

On Wed, Oct 2, 2019 at 7:40 PM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Dear fellow Lincolnites:

 

When the new school proposal was being discussed, some folks here were Cassandras – warning that the increase in the tax rate would result in much higher property taxes.  Heck, even the *proponents* of the new school construction were agreeing that tax rates were going to go up significantly.  Several folks even sent emails around on this very point, offering calculations and calculators for residents to see what their personal property tax impact would be.

 

So if you read any of those (more than a few) warnings, should you really be “surprised” at how much your taxes went up?

 

Looking at our property tax bill today, the rate went from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019 to $15.36/$1,000 in 2020.  THAT IS A 9.5% INCREASE IN YOUR TAX RATE.

 

The median house value in Lincoln, per Zillow, is $1,084,900.  Which translates into a tax increase of $1,443 for 2020 (and at least that much each year going forward).  And, of course, because that’s the median price, half of Lincoln is looking at a tax increase of more – or much more than that.

 

But since this was heavily discussed and debated before the school vote, we shouldn’t be surprised, right?

 

Well, I don’t recall any discussion about implementing the “residential exemption” option that Jennifer Glass just sent around this afternoon, as part of the work of the Property Tax Study Committee (the “Committee”).

 

This never came up in Lincoln Talk, and – please, someone correct me if I’m wrong – this came up with the Committee only in late spring 2019, months AFTER the school vote, as part of the Committee’s Public Forum (I had to dig out that date and document).

 

One should read the summary that Jennifer provided (pasted below).  In a nutshell, the Board of Selectman can vote to INCREASE TAXES YET AGAIN, on the “rich” people in town, to benefit the “poor” people in town.  All without a town vote.  As a result of the increase in property taxes resulting for the school building vote.

 

Put another way – town residents were offered an opportunity to vote, yay or nay, on a very expensive new school project, with a tax increase calculation so that, at least, they could see how much their wallets would get hit for it.

 

Now, less than a year later, some of those same town residents are facing the possibility of being forced to pay EVEN MORE in taxes than was promised – all without a further vote by the town.  Just a simple majority vote by the Selectman.

 

Is no one else outraged by this?  Or are people simply falling in line with the promises made by certain presidential candidates – you can have free this and free that, all without paying a penny, simply because the “rich” will pay for it?  We’ll just tax “the rich”, and you will benefit, so vote for me!  (All of this without explaining how the math would work, since even seizing ALL of the wealth of the “rich”, as these candidates have called out, would not generate enough funding for their pet projects.)

 

The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.

 

When you voted in the town meeting on the new school building, did you think that your taxes might go up by 58.2%?

 

Do you think it’s right and fair that Lincoln could, choose to impose an ex post facto tax increase on 40% of the town?  Without another town-wide vote? 

 

Do you think that, since all of the tax increase figures were *known* prior to the school building vote, that any possibility of enacting the “residential exemption” option should have been highlighted before the school vote? 

 

Am I the only person that’s outraged that this is even on the table?

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Lincoln <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of Jennifer Glass via Lincoln
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 4:35 PM
To: LincolnTalk <[hidden email]>
Subject: [LincolnTalk] So you’ve seen your latest property tax bill...

 

Property Tax Study Committee 

Public Forum #2: Tuesday, October 15th, 7:00 - 8:30pm

Donaldson Room, Town Offices

 

Recognizing that the bond for the school project could have a disproportionately large financial impact on some Lincoln residents, the Property Tax Study Committee was appointed by the Board of Selectmen last January (https://www.lincolntown.org/1084/Property-Tax-Study-Committee). Its charge is to:

  • Understand, to the extent practicable, the scope and types of community needs.
  • Research and understand the implications of tax programs that are currently supported by state law, or are under consideration.
  • Seek input from the community to understand the appetite for such programs in the context of other town priorities.
  • Understand how private fundraising efforts could best be utilized to help those with demonstrated financial need.

The Committee has focused on two possible tax programs:

  1. Residential Exemption
  2. A local extension of the state Circuit Breaker program

Below is the article about these options that was published in the September edition of the Board of Selectmen’s newsletter. (To read the entire newsletter, click:  BOS News)

 

Please join us on October 15th to learn more, ask questions, and provide feedback!

 

Jennifer Glass, for the Committee

 

Property Tax Study Committee

<image001.png>

The Study Committee held its first public forum on June 18th. Using Lincoln’s vision statement as a framework, the Committee shared information about Lincoln’s demographics, available information about economic need, and the current utilization of existing tax abatement programs.  

The Committee also introduced two additional programs the Town could consider pursuing:

  1. Residential Exemption
    • A local option property tax exemption that is set at 0% - 35% of the Town’s average residential property value. The chosen % gets translated into a fixed amount that is deducted from every eligible residential assessment before the tax rate is applied.
    • The exemption applies only to owner-occupied properties.
    • The tax rate is then increased to make the program revenue-neutral.
    • All residential taxpayers (including owners of rental properties) pay the increased tax rate to keep the total tax levy the same; commercial properties are excluded.
    • The effect is to reduce taxes on eligible properties with valuations below a break-even point; it raises taxes on properties above the break-even point (roughly 60% of properties would be below and about 40% would be above the break-even point).
    • There are no age or income requirements.
    • May be enacted by a vote of the Selectmen; no additional approval requirements.

 

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Re: [LincolnTalk] Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

Bijoy Misra
Friends,
I have not seen any strategic plan on behalf of the Town.  We seem to be event-driven and local
in our approach.  As a stable old community, a twenty or fifty year plan could be useful to create
guardrails on what should and can be done.  Since many mature and wise people exist in town,
the Board of Selectmen may institute such a vision document for the future work in town.
Demographics, economic diversity and social condition are important factors.  Each has nonlinear
effects which can only be objectively analyzed and possibly seen through into the future.
We do get lost in local solutions where issues appear piece-meal.  Good engineering needs good
planning.
Bijoy Misra

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 6:08 AM <[hidden email]> wrote:
Dennis,

I am not outraged- at least not any more.  I went through my period of outrage several years ago when I finally  realized that the town committees and boards in large part did not possess the genuine concern to ask even the simplest of questions of its citizenry regarding this issue. “How much of a percentage increase in your tax bill do you feel you can support for a school building project before you seriously question your ability or desire to remain in this town?”  This question is so fundamentally simple and could have been asked town-wide at any time from 2011-2016. But there was one teeny tiny problem -people didn’t want the answer.

There were folks who felt strongly that a new school was needed  all now and all at once- no matter the costs. There were also folks who felt strongly that the school and campus should look the way they, and not the State deemed it should look-no matter the costs. And these two groups worked well together. And now we have what we have.   How many homes are on the market now?  Do we think this issue will get better as a result of a change in tax policy?  

I send this email with great hesitation. I don’t mean at all to insult anyone who has ever volunteered for this town. But I also know that I asked at least four times for that question to be sent out - and the stares I got were shocking. I was too unfamiliar with the Lincoln Way it seemed. It eats me up inside.

Vincent
Please excuse spelling or syntax errors



On Wed, Oct 2, 2019 at 10:59 PM -0400, "Dennis Liu" <[hidden email]> wrote:

Here’s a shorter version of Sara’s note below:

 

“Let’s get together to form a committee, because committees are awesome, and governments work best when we all get together, and decide whether to increase taxes on SOME of the people in town, so as to reduce taxes for SOME of the other people in town.”  😊

 

Here are some bedrock truths, whether one likes them or not:

 

  1. Taxes have to go up to cover the very expensive school building project the town voted in favor of.
  2. We cannot at this point materially change the total amount of taxes needed to cover everything (the school building plus the other town budget items).
  3. Therefore, the only thing we can do – and the only two things that the Committee is contemplating – is to shift the tax burden among town residents, to one group that the committee/selectmen, in their wisdom, deem “should pay less”, from one group that are deemed “rich enough to afford to pay more.”

 

Oh, there is no doubt some nuance and complexity and context and color one could add to any of those three planks of truth.  But as I read the Committee’s output, those three truths are carved in stone.

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Sara Mattes <[hidden email]>
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 9:42 PM
To: Bijoy Misra <[hidden email]>
Cc: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>; Joanna Owen Schmergel via Lincoln <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

 

Please note that there has a committee that has been meeting to discuss this-the Property Tax Study Committee.

A meeting on Oct. 15 will roll out what has been learned to date about current status na and what options the town might adopt.

Jennifer Glass recently posted information about this on LT, and the Selectman’s most recent newsletter also addressed this.

Please review materials and attend the OCt. 15 forum as a precursor tot the State of the Town discussion.

All this will lead to choices posed in a. Warrant article or Town Meeting, and a potential ballot advisory question.

 

Please take much of the alarmist posts with a grain of salt (sugar?).

Some of the calculations are just plain wrong!

There are choices and the town can be a part of a discussion as to what makes most sense for the whole.

 

Please review materials and come to both the Oct. 15 forum and the SoTT to discuss.

 

Think about who we are today, and who we want to be tomorrow.

What is “community character?”

What do we want to preserve and what are the trade-offs to do so?

 

Let’s come together to discuss and discuss as how best to advise.

 

In solidarity,

Sara Mattes

 

 

 

 

 

 



On Oct 2, 2019, at 9:20 PM, Bijoy Misra <[hidden email]> wrote:

 

Friends,

From the town meeting on the tax increase it appeared that many had already made up their

minds to leave town.  The procrastinators would potentially be homeless in a few years.

I don't know if Town has a service for people in imposed financial stress.  It would be a

good test for the town in housing and in social welfare.

Bijoy Misra

 

On Wed, Oct 2, 2019 at 7:40 PM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Dear fellow Lincolnites:

 

When the new school proposal was being discussed, some folks here were Cassandras – warning that the increase in the tax rate would result in much higher property taxes.  Heck, even the *proponents* of the new school construction were agreeing that tax rates were going to go up significantly.  Several folks even sent emails around on this very point, offering calculations and calculators for residents to see what their personal property tax impact would be.

 

So if you read any of those (more than a few) warnings, should you really be “surprised” at how much your taxes went up?

 

Looking at our property tax bill today, the rate went from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019 to $15.36/$1,000 in 2020.  THAT IS A 9.5% INCREASE IN YOUR TAX RATE.

 

The median house value in Lincoln, per Zillow, is $1,084,900.  Which translates into a tax increase of $1,443 for 2020 (and at least that much each year going forward).  And, of course, because that’s the median price, half of Lincoln is looking at a tax increase of more – or much more than that.

 

But since this was heavily discussed and debated before the school vote, we shouldn’t be surprised, right?

 

Well, I don’t recall any discussion about implementing the “residential exemption” option that Jennifer Glass just sent around this afternoon, as part of the work of the Property Tax Study Committee (the “Committee”).

 

This never came up in Lincoln Talk, and – please, someone correct me if I’m wrong – this came up with the Committee only in late spring 2019, months AFTER the school vote, as part of the Committee’s Public Forum (I had to dig out that date and document).

 

One should read the summary that Jennifer provided (pasted below).  In a nutshell, the Board of Selectman can vote to INCREASE TAXES YET AGAIN, on the “rich” people in town, to benefit the “poor” people in town.  All without a town vote.  As a result of the increase in property taxes resulting for the school building vote.

 

Put another way – town residents were offered an opportunity to vote, yay or nay, on a very expensive new school project, with a tax increase calculation so that, at least, they could see how much their wallets would get hit for it.

 

Now, less than a year later, some of those same town residents are facing the possibility of being forced to pay EVEN MORE in taxes than was promised – all without a further vote by the town.  Just a simple majority vote by the Selectman.

 

Is no one else outraged by this?  Or are people simply falling in line with the promises made by certain presidential candidates – you can have free this and free that, all without paying a penny, simply because the “rich” will pay for it?  We’ll just tax “the rich”, and you will benefit, so vote for me!  (All of this without explaining how the math would work, since even seizing ALL of the wealth of the “rich”, as these candidates have called out, would not generate enough funding for their pet projects.)

 

The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.

 

When you voted in the town meeting on the new school building, did you think that your taxes might go up by 58.2%?

 

Do you think it’s right and fair that Lincoln could, choose to impose an ex post facto tax increase on 40% of the town?  Without another town-wide vote? 

 

Do you think that, since all of the tax increase figures were *known* prior to the school building vote, that any possibility of enacting the “residential exemption” option should have been highlighted before the school vote? 

 

Am I the only person that’s outraged that this is even on the table?

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Lincoln <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of Jennifer Glass via Lincoln
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 4:35 PM
To: LincolnTalk <[hidden email]>
Subject: [LincolnTalk] So you’ve seen your latest property tax bill...

 

Property Tax Study Committee 

Public Forum #2: Tuesday, October 15th, 7:00 - 8:30pm

Donaldson Room, Town Offices

 

Recognizing that the bond for the school project could have a disproportionately large financial impact on some Lincoln residents, the Property Tax Study Committee was appointed by the Board of Selectmen last January (https://www.lincolntown.org/1084/Property-Tax-Study-Committee). Its charge is to:

  • Understand, to the extent practicable, the scope and types of community needs.
  • Research and understand the implications of tax programs that are currently supported by state law, or are under consideration.
  • Seek input from the community to understand the appetite for such programs in the context of other town priorities.
  • Understand how private fundraising efforts could best be utilized to help those with demonstrated financial need.

The Committee has focused on two possible tax programs:

  1. Residential Exemption
  2. A local extension of the state Circuit Breaker program

Below is the article about these options that was published in the September edition of the Board of Selectmen’s newsletter. (To read the entire newsletter, click:  BOS News)

 

Please join us on October 15th to learn more, ask questions, and provide feedback!

 

Jennifer Glass, for the Committee

 

Property Tax Study Committee

<image001.png>

The Study Committee held its first public forum on June 18th. Using Lincoln’s vision statement as a framework, the Committee shared information about Lincoln’s demographics, available information about economic need, and the current utilization of existing tax abatement programs.  

The Committee also introduced two additional programs the Town could consider pursuing:

  1. Residential Exemption
    • A local option property tax exemption that is set at 0% - 35% of the Town’s average residential property value. The chosen % gets translated into a fixed amount that is deducted from every eligible residential assessment before the tax rate is applied.
    • The exemption applies only to owner-occupied properties.
    • The tax rate is then increased to make the program revenue-neutral.
    • All residential taxpayers (including owners of rental properties) pay the increased tax rate to keep the total tax levy the same; commercial properties are excluded.
    • The effect is to reduce taxes on eligible properties with valuations below a break-even point; it raises taxes on properties above the break-even point (roughly 60% of properties would be below and about 40% would be above the break-even point).
    • There are no age or income requirements.
    • May be enacted by a vote of the Selectmen; no additional approval requirements.

 

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Re: [LincolnTalk] Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

Sasha Golden
I think a strategic plan is an excellent idea whose time is overdue. We have any number of issues in this town which I think have some roots in a failure to relate with overall goals. What does this community want to be in 5 years? 10? 20? How do present actions connect to future goals?

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 7:30 AM Bijoy Misra <[hidden email]> wrote:
Friends,
I have not seen any strategic plan on behalf of the Town.  We seem to be event-driven and local
in our approach.  As a stable old community, a twenty or fifty year plan could be useful to create
guardrails on what should and can be done.  Since many mature and wise people exist in town,
the Board of Selectmen may institute such a vision document for the future work in town.
Demographics, economic diversity and social condition are important factors.  Each has nonlinear
effects which can only be objectively analyzed and possibly seen through into the future.
We do get lost in local solutions where issues appear piece-meal.  Good engineering needs good
planning.
Bijoy Misra

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 6:08 AM <[hidden email]> wrote:
Dennis,

I am not outraged- at least not any more.  I went through my period of outrage several years ago when I finally  realized that the town committees and boards in large part did not possess the genuine concern to ask even the simplest of questions of its citizenry regarding this issue. “How much of a percentage increase in your tax bill do you feel you can support for a school building project before you seriously question your ability or desire to remain in this town?”  This question is so fundamentally simple and could have been asked town-wide at any time from 2011-2016. But there was one teeny tiny problem -people didn’t want the answer.

There were folks who felt strongly that a new school was needed  all now and all at once- no matter the costs. There were also folks who felt strongly that the school and campus should look the way they, and not the State deemed it should look-no matter the costs. And these two groups worked well together. And now we have what we have.   How many homes are on the market now?  Do we think this issue will get better as a result of a change in tax policy?  

I send this email with great hesitation. I don’t mean at all to insult anyone who has ever volunteered for this town. But I also know that I asked at least four times for that question to be sent out - and the stares I got were shocking. I was too unfamiliar with the Lincoln Way it seemed. It eats me up inside.

Vincent
Please excuse spelling or syntax errors



On Wed, Oct 2, 2019 at 10:59 PM -0400, "Dennis Liu" <[hidden email]> wrote:

Here’s a shorter version of Sara’s note below:

 

“Let’s get together to form a committee, because committees are awesome, and governments work best when we all get together, and decide whether to increase taxes on SOME of the people in town, so as to reduce taxes for SOME of the other people in town.”  😊

 

Here are some bedrock truths, whether one likes them or not:

 

  1. Taxes have to go up to cover the very expensive school building project the town voted in favor of.
  2. We cannot at this point materially change the total amount of taxes needed to cover everything (the school building plus the other town budget items).
  3. Therefore, the only thing we can do – and the only two things that the Committee is contemplating – is to shift the tax burden among town residents, to one group that the committee/selectmen, in their wisdom, deem “should pay less”, from one group that are deemed “rich enough to afford to pay more.”

 

Oh, there is no doubt some nuance and complexity and context and color one could add to any of those three planks of truth.  But as I read the Committee’s output, those three truths are carved in stone.

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Sara Mattes <[hidden email]>
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 9:42 PM
To: Bijoy Misra <[hidden email]>
Cc: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>; Joanna Owen Schmergel via Lincoln <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

 

Please note that there has a committee that has been meeting to discuss this-the Property Tax Study Committee.

A meeting on Oct. 15 will roll out what has been learned to date about current status na and what options the town might adopt.

Jennifer Glass recently posted information about this on LT, and the Selectman’s most recent newsletter also addressed this.

Please review materials and attend the OCt. 15 forum as a precursor tot the State of the Town discussion.

All this will lead to choices posed in a. Warrant article or Town Meeting, and a potential ballot advisory question.

 

Please take much of the alarmist posts with a grain of salt (sugar?).

Some of the calculations are just plain wrong!

There are choices and the town can be a part of a discussion as to what makes most sense for the whole.

 

Please review materials and come to both the Oct. 15 forum and the SoTT to discuss.

 

Think about who we are today, and who we want to be tomorrow.

What is “community character?”

What do we want to preserve and what are the trade-offs to do so?

 

Let’s come together to discuss and discuss as how best to advise.

 

In solidarity,

Sara Mattes

 

 

 

 

 

 



On Oct 2, 2019, at 9:20 PM, Bijoy Misra <[hidden email]> wrote:

 

Friends,

From the town meeting on the tax increase it appeared that many had already made up their

minds to leave town.  The procrastinators would potentially be homeless in a few years.

I don't know if Town has a service for people in imposed financial stress.  It would be a

good test for the town in housing and in social welfare.

Bijoy Misra

 

On Wed, Oct 2, 2019 at 7:40 PM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Dear fellow Lincolnites:

 

When the new school proposal was being discussed, some folks here were Cassandras – warning that the increase in the tax rate would result in much higher property taxes.  Heck, even the *proponents* of the new school construction were agreeing that tax rates were going to go up significantly.  Several folks even sent emails around on this very point, offering calculations and calculators for residents to see what their personal property tax impact would be.

 

So if you read any of those (more than a few) warnings, should you really be “surprised” at how much your taxes went up?

 

Looking at our property tax bill today, the rate went from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019 to $15.36/$1,000 in 2020.  THAT IS A 9.5% INCREASE IN YOUR TAX RATE.

 

The median house value in Lincoln, per Zillow, is $1,084,900.  Which translates into a tax increase of $1,443 for 2020 (and at least that much each year going forward).  And, of course, because that’s the median price, half of Lincoln is looking at a tax increase of more – or much more than that.

 

But since this was heavily discussed and debated before the school vote, we shouldn’t be surprised, right?

 

Well, I don’t recall any discussion about implementing the “residential exemption” option that Jennifer Glass just sent around this afternoon, as part of the work of the Property Tax Study Committee (the “Committee”).

 

This never came up in Lincoln Talk, and – please, someone correct me if I’m wrong – this came up with the Committee only in late spring 2019, months AFTER the school vote, as part of the Committee’s Public Forum (I had to dig out that date and document).

 

One should read the summary that Jennifer provided (pasted below).  In a nutshell, the Board of Selectman can vote to INCREASE TAXES YET AGAIN, on the “rich” people in town, to benefit the “poor” people in town.  All without a town vote.  As a result of the increase in property taxes resulting for the school building vote.

 

Put another way – town residents were offered an opportunity to vote, yay or nay, on a very expensive new school project, with a tax increase calculation so that, at least, they could see how much their wallets would get hit for it.

 

Now, less than a year later, some of those same town residents are facing the possibility of being forced to pay EVEN MORE in taxes than was promised – all without a further vote by the town.  Just a simple majority vote by the Selectman.

 

Is no one else outraged by this?  Or are people simply falling in line with the promises made by certain presidential candidates – you can have free this and free that, all without paying a penny, simply because the “rich” will pay for it?  We’ll just tax “the rich”, and you will benefit, so vote for me!  (All of this without explaining how the math would work, since even seizing ALL of the wealth of the “rich”, as these candidates have called out, would not generate enough funding for their pet projects.)

 

The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.

 

When you voted in the town meeting on the new school building, did you think that your taxes might go up by 58.2%?

 

Do you think it’s right and fair that Lincoln could, choose to impose an ex post facto tax increase on 40% of the town?  Without another town-wide vote? 

 

Do you think that, since all of the tax increase figures were *known* prior to the school building vote, that any possibility of enacting the “residential exemption” option should have been highlighted before the school vote? 

 

Am I the only person that’s outraged that this is even on the table?

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Lincoln <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of Jennifer Glass via Lincoln
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 4:35 PM
To: LincolnTalk <[hidden email]>
Subject: [LincolnTalk] So you’ve seen your latest property tax bill...

 

Property Tax Study Committee 

Public Forum #2: Tuesday, October 15th, 7:00 - 8:30pm

Donaldson Room, Town Offices

 

Recognizing that the bond for the school project could have a disproportionately large financial impact on some Lincoln residents, the Property Tax Study Committee was appointed by the Board of Selectmen last January (https://www.lincolntown.org/1084/Property-Tax-Study-Committee). Its charge is to:

  • Understand, to the extent practicable, the scope and types of community needs.
  • Research and understand the implications of tax programs that are currently supported by state law, or are under consideration.
  • Seek input from the community to understand the appetite for such programs in the context of other town priorities.
  • Understand how private fundraising efforts could best be utilized to help those with demonstrated financial need.

The Committee has focused on two possible tax programs:

  1. Residential Exemption
  2. A local extension of the state Circuit Breaker program

Below is the article about these options that was published in the September edition of the Board of Selectmen’s newsletter. (To read the entire newsletter, click:  BOS News)

 

Please join us on October 15th to learn more, ask questions, and provide feedback!

 

Jennifer Glass, for the Committee

 

Property Tax Study Committee

<image001.png>

The Study Committee held its first public forum on June 18th. Using Lincoln’s vision statement as a framework, the Committee shared information about Lincoln’s demographics, available information about economic need, and the current utilization of existing tax abatement programs.  

The Committee also introduced two additional programs the Town could consider pursuing:

  1. Residential Exemption
    • A local option property tax exemption that is set at 0% - 35% of the Town’s average residential property value. The chosen % gets translated into a fixed amount that is deducted from every eligible residential assessment before the tax rate is applied.
    • The exemption applies only to owner-occupied properties.
    • The tax rate is then increased to make the program revenue-neutral.
    • All residential taxpayers (including owners of rental properties) pay the increased tax rate to keep the total tax levy the same; commercial properties are excluded.
    • The effect is to reduce taxes on eligible properties with valuations below a break-even point; it raises taxes on properties above the break-even point (roughly 60% of properties would be below and about 40% would be above the break-even point).
    • There are no age or income requirements.
    • May be enacted by a vote of the Selectmen; no additional approval requirements.

 

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Re: [LincolnTalk] Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

Andy Wang
There was a 3 1/2 year effort that went into making the Comprehensive Long Range Plan  (2009).  Do you mean like that? 


It's an interesting read (document linked in description on page).

Andy




On Thu, Oct 3, 2019, 8:12 AM Sasha Golden <[hidden email]> wrote:
I think a strategic plan is an excellent idea whose time is overdue. We have any number of issues in this town which I think have some roots in a failure to relate with overall goals. What does this community want to be in 5 years? 10? 20? How do present actions connect to future goals?

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 7:30 AM Bijoy Misra <[hidden email]> wrote:
Friends,
I have not seen any strategic plan on behalf of the Town.  We seem to be event-driven and local
in our approach.  As a stable old community, a twenty or fifty year plan could be useful to create
guardrails on what should and can be done.  Since many mature and wise people exist in town,
the Board of Selectmen may institute such a vision document for the future work in town.
Demographics, economic diversity and social condition are important factors.  Each has nonlinear
effects which can only be objectively analyzed and possibly seen through into the future.
We do get lost in local solutions where issues appear piece-meal.  Good engineering needs good
planning.
Bijoy Misra

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 6:08 AM <[hidden email]> wrote:
Dennis,

I am not outraged- at least not any more.  I went through my period of outrage several years ago when I finally  realized that the town committees and boards in large part did not possess the genuine concern to ask even the simplest of questions of its citizenry regarding this issue. “How much of a percentage increase in your tax bill do you feel you can support for a school building project before you seriously question your ability or desire to remain in this town?”  This question is so fundamentally simple and could have been asked town-wide at any time from 2011-2016. But there was one teeny tiny problem -people didn’t want the answer.

There were folks who felt strongly that a new school was needed  all now and all at once- no matter the costs. There were also folks who felt strongly that the school and campus should look the way they, and not the State deemed it should look-no matter the costs. And these two groups worked well together. And now we have what we have.   How many homes are on the market now?  Do we think this issue will get better as a result of a change in tax policy?  

I send this email with great hesitation. I don’t mean at all to insult anyone who has ever volunteered for this town. But I also know that I asked at least four times for that question to be sent out - and the stares I got were shocking. I was too unfamiliar with the Lincoln Way it seemed. It eats me up inside.

Vincent
Please excuse spelling or syntax errors



On Wed, Oct 2, 2019 at 10:59 PM -0400, "Dennis Liu" <[hidden email]> wrote:

Here’s a shorter version of Sara’s note below:

 

“Let’s get together to form a committee, because committees are awesome, and governments work best when we all get together, and decide whether to increase taxes on SOME of the people in town, so as to reduce taxes for SOME of the other people in town.”  😊

 

Here are some bedrock truths, whether one likes them or not:

 

  1. Taxes have to go up to cover the very expensive school building project the town voted in favor of.
  2. We cannot at this point materially change the total amount of taxes needed to cover everything (the school building plus the other town budget items).
  3. Therefore, the only thing we can do – and the only two things that the Committee is contemplating – is to shift the tax burden among town residents, to one group that the committee/selectmen, in their wisdom, deem “should pay less”, from one group that are deemed “rich enough to afford to pay more.”

 

Oh, there is no doubt some nuance and complexity and context and color one could add to any of those three planks of truth.  But as I read the Committee’s output, those three truths are carved in stone.

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Sara Mattes <[hidden email]>
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 9:42 PM
To: Bijoy Misra <[hidden email]>
Cc: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>; Joanna Owen Schmergel via Lincoln <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

 

Please note that there has a committee that has been meeting to discuss this-the Property Tax Study Committee.

A meeting on Oct. 15 will roll out what has been learned to date about current status na and what options the town might adopt.

Jennifer Glass recently posted information about this on LT, and the Selectman’s most recent newsletter also addressed this.

Please review materials and attend the OCt. 15 forum as a precursor tot the State of the Town discussion.

All this will lead to choices posed in a. Warrant article or Town Meeting, and a potential ballot advisory question.

 

Please take much of the alarmist posts with a grain of salt (sugar?).

Some of the calculations are just plain wrong!

There are choices and the town can be a part of a discussion as to what makes most sense for the whole.

 

Please review materials and come to both the Oct. 15 forum and the SoTT to discuss.

 

Think about who we are today, and who we want to be tomorrow.

What is “community character?”

What do we want to preserve and what are the trade-offs to do so?

 

Let’s come together to discuss and discuss as how best to advise.

 

In solidarity,

Sara Mattes

 

 

 

 

 

 



On Oct 2, 2019, at 9:20 PM, Bijoy Misra <[hidden email]> wrote:

 

Friends,

From the town meeting on the tax increase it appeared that many had already made up their

minds to leave town.  The procrastinators would potentially be homeless in a few years.

I don't know if Town has a service for people in imposed financial stress.  It would be a

good test for the town in housing and in social welfare.

Bijoy Misra

 

On Wed, Oct 2, 2019 at 7:40 PM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Dear fellow Lincolnites:

 

When the new school proposal was being discussed, some folks here were Cassandras – warning that the increase in the tax rate would result in much higher property taxes.  Heck, even the *proponents* of the new school construction were agreeing that tax rates were going to go up significantly.  Several folks even sent emails around on this very point, offering calculations and calculators for residents to see what their personal property tax impact would be.

 

So if you read any of those (more than a few) warnings, should you really be “surprised” at how much your taxes went up?

 

Looking at our property tax bill today, the rate went from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019 to $15.36/$1,000 in 2020.  THAT IS A 9.5% INCREASE IN YOUR TAX RATE.

 

The median house value in Lincoln, per Zillow, is $1,084,900.  Which translates into a tax increase of $1,443 for 2020 (and at least that much each year going forward).  And, of course, because that’s the median price, half of Lincoln is looking at a tax increase of more – or much more than that.

 

But since this was heavily discussed and debated before the school vote, we shouldn’t be surprised, right?

 

Well, I don’t recall any discussion about implementing the “residential exemption” option that Jennifer Glass just sent around this afternoon, as part of the work of the Property Tax Study Committee (the “Committee”).

 

This never came up in Lincoln Talk, and – please, someone correct me if I’m wrong – this came up with the Committee only in late spring 2019, months AFTER the school vote, as part of the Committee’s Public Forum (I had to dig out that date and document).

 

One should read the summary that Jennifer provided (pasted below).  In a nutshell, the Board of Selectman can vote to INCREASE TAXES YET AGAIN, on the “rich” people in town, to benefit the “poor” people in town.  All without a town vote.  As a result of the increase in property taxes resulting for the school building vote.

 

Put another way – town residents were offered an opportunity to vote, yay or nay, on a very expensive new school project, with a tax increase calculation so that, at least, they could see how much their wallets would get hit for it.

 

Now, less than a year later, some of those same town residents are facing the possibility of being forced to pay EVEN MORE in taxes than was promised – all without a further vote by the town.  Just a simple majority vote by the Selectman.

 

Is no one else outraged by this?  Or are people simply falling in line with the promises made by certain presidential candidates – you can have free this and free that, all without paying a penny, simply because the “rich” will pay for it?  We’ll just tax “the rich”, and you will benefit, so vote for me!  (All of this without explaining how the math would work, since even seizing ALL of the wealth of the “rich”, as these candidates have called out, would not generate enough funding for their pet projects.)

 

The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.

 

When you voted in the town meeting on the new school building, did you think that your taxes might go up by 58.2%?

 

Do you think it’s right and fair that Lincoln could, choose to impose an ex post facto tax increase on 40% of the town?  Without another town-wide vote? 

 

Do you think that, since all of the tax increase figures were *known* prior to the school building vote, that any possibility of enacting the “residential exemption” option should have been highlighted before the school vote? 

 

Am I the only person that’s outraged that this is even on the table?

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Lincoln <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of Jennifer Glass via Lincoln
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 4:35 PM
To: LincolnTalk <[hidden email]>
Subject: [LincolnTalk] So you’ve seen your latest property tax bill...

 

Property Tax Study Committee 

Public Forum #2: Tuesday, October 15th, 7:00 - 8:30pm

Donaldson Room, Town Offices

 

Recognizing that the bond for the school project could have a disproportionately large financial impact on some Lincoln residents, the Property Tax Study Committee was appointed by the Board of Selectmen last January (https://www.lincolntown.org/1084/Property-Tax-Study-Committee). Its charge is to:

  • Understand, to the extent practicable, the scope and types of community needs.
  • Research and understand the implications of tax programs that are currently supported by state law, or are under consideration.
  • Seek input from the community to understand the appetite for such programs in the context of other town priorities.
  • Understand how private fundraising efforts could best be utilized to help those with demonstrated financial need.

The Committee has focused on two possible tax programs:

  1. Residential Exemption
  2. A local extension of the state Circuit Breaker program

Below is the article about these options that was published in the September edition of the Board of Selectmen’s newsletter. (To read the entire newsletter, click:  BOS News)

 

Please join us on October 15th to learn more, ask questions, and provide feedback!

 

Jennifer Glass, for the Committee

 

Property Tax Study Committee

<image001.png>

The Study Committee held its first public forum on June 18th. Using Lincoln’s vision statement as a framework, the Committee shared information about Lincoln’s demographics, available information about economic need, and the current utilization of existing tax abatement programs.  

The Committee also introduced two additional programs the Town could consider pursuing:

  1. Residential Exemption
    • A local option property tax exemption that is set at 0% - 35% of the Town’s average residential property value. The chosen % gets translated into a fixed amount that is deducted from every eligible residential assessment before the tax rate is applied.
    • The exemption applies only to owner-occupied properties.
    • The tax rate is then increased to make the program revenue-neutral.
    • All residential taxpayers (including owners of rental properties) pay the increased tax rate to keep the total tax levy the same; commercial properties are excluded.
    • The effect is to reduce taxes on eligible properties with valuations below a break-even point; it raises taxes on properties above the break-even point (roughly 60% of properties would be below and about 40% would be above the break-even point).
    • There are no age or income requirements.
    • May be enacted by a vote of the Selectmen; no additional approval requirements.

 

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Re: [LincolnTalk] Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

Sasha Golden
I'm fairly new here (5 years) -- didn't know about that. However, the document is now 10 years old -- do we know if anyone has dusted it off lately to take a hard look at it? Strategic plans aren't intended to be static.

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 9:16 AM Andy Wang <[hidden email]> wrote:
There was a 3 1/2 year effort that went into making the Comprehensive Long Range Plan  (2009).  Do you mean like that? 


It's an interesting read (document linked in description on page).

Andy




On Thu, Oct 3, 2019, 8:12 AM Sasha Golden <[hidden email]> wrote:
I think a strategic plan is an excellent idea whose time is overdue. We have any number of issues in this town which I think have some roots in a failure to relate with overall goals. What does this community want to be in 5 years? 10? 20? How do present actions connect to future goals?

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 7:30 AM Bijoy Misra <[hidden email]> wrote:
Friends,
I have not seen any strategic plan on behalf of the Town.  We seem to be event-driven and local
in our approach.  As a stable old community, a twenty or fifty year plan could be useful to create
guardrails on what should and can be done.  Since many mature and wise people exist in town,
the Board of Selectmen may institute such a vision document for the future work in town.
Demographics, economic diversity and social condition are important factors.  Each has nonlinear
effects which can only be objectively analyzed and possibly seen through into the future.
We do get lost in local solutions where issues appear piece-meal.  Good engineering needs good
planning.
Bijoy Misra

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 6:08 AM <[hidden email]> wrote:
Dennis,

I am not outraged- at least not any more.  I went through my period of outrage several years ago when I finally  realized that the town committees and boards in large part did not possess the genuine concern to ask even the simplest of questions of its citizenry regarding this issue. “How much of a percentage increase in your tax bill do you feel you can support for a school building project before you seriously question your ability or desire to remain in this town?”  This question is so fundamentally simple and could have been asked town-wide at any time from 2011-2016. But there was one teeny tiny problem -people didn’t want the answer.

There were folks who felt strongly that a new school was needed  all now and all at once- no matter the costs. There were also folks who felt strongly that the school and campus should look the way they, and not the State deemed it should look-no matter the costs. And these two groups worked well together. And now we have what we have.   How many homes are on the market now?  Do we think this issue will get better as a result of a change in tax policy?  

I send this email with great hesitation. I don’t mean at all to insult anyone who has ever volunteered for this town. But I also know that I asked at least four times for that question to be sent out - and the stares I got were shocking. I was too unfamiliar with the Lincoln Way it seemed. It eats me up inside.

Vincent
Please excuse spelling or syntax errors



On Wed, Oct 2, 2019 at 10:59 PM -0400, "Dennis Liu" <[hidden email]> wrote:

Here’s a shorter version of Sara’s note below:

 

“Let’s get together to form a committee, because committees are awesome, and governments work best when we all get together, and decide whether to increase taxes on SOME of the people in town, so as to reduce taxes for SOME of the other people in town.”  😊

 

Here are some bedrock truths, whether one likes them or not:

 

  1. Taxes have to go up to cover the very expensive school building project the town voted in favor of.
  2. We cannot at this point materially change the total amount of taxes needed to cover everything (the school building plus the other town budget items).
  3. Therefore, the only thing we can do – and the only two things that the Committee is contemplating – is to shift the tax burden among town residents, to one group that the committee/selectmen, in their wisdom, deem “should pay less”, from one group that are deemed “rich enough to afford to pay more.”

 

Oh, there is no doubt some nuance and complexity and context and color one could add to any of those three planks of truth.  But as I read the Committee’s output, those three truths are carved in stone.

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Sara Mattes <[hidden email]>
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 9:42 PM
To: Bijoy Misra <[hidden email]>
Cc: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>; Joanna Owen Schmergel via Lincoln <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

 

Please note that there has a committee that has been meeting to discuss this-the Property Tax Study Committee.

A meeting on Oct. 15 will roll out what has been learned to date about current status na and what options the town might adopt.

Jennifer Glass recently posted information about this on LT, and the Selectman’s most recent newsletter also addressed this.

Please review materials and attend the OCt. 15 forum as a precursor tot the State of the Town discussion.

All this will lead to choices posed in a. Warrant article or Town Meeting, and a potential ballot advisory question.

 

Please take much of the alarmist posts with a grain of salt (sugar?).

Some of the calculations are just plain wrong!

There are choices and the town can be a part of a discussion as to what makes most sense for the whole.

 

Please review materials and come to both the Oct. 15 forum and the SoTT to discuss.

 

Think about who we are today, and who we want to be tomorrow.

What is “community character?”

What do we want to preserve and what are the trade-offs to do so?

 

Let’s come together to discuss and discuss as how best to advise.

 

In solidarity,

Sara Mattes

 

 

 

 

 

 



On Oct 2, 2019, at 9:20 PM, Bijoy Misra <[hidden email]> wrote:

 

Friends,

From the town meeting on the tax increase it appeared that many had already made up their

minds to leave town.  The procrastinators would potentially be homeless in a few years.

I don't know if Town has a service for people in imposed financial stress.  It would be a

good test for the town in housing and in social welfare.

Bijoy Misra

 

On Wed, Oct 2, 2019 at 7:40 PM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Dear fellow Lincolnites:

 

When the new school proposal was being discussed, some folks here were Cassandras – warning that the increase in the tax rate would result in much higher property taxes.  Heck, even the *proponents* of the new school construction were agreeing that tax rates were going to go up significantly.  Several folks even sent emails around on this very point, offering calculations and calculators for residents to see what their personal property tax impact would be.

 

So if you read any of those (more than a few) warnings, should you really be “surprised” at how much your taxes went up?

 

Looking at our property tax bill today, the rate went from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019 to $15.36/$1,000 in 2020.  THAT IS A 9.5% INCREASE IN YOUR TAX RATE.

 

The median house value in Lincoln, per Zillow, is $1,084,900.  Which translates into a tax increase of $1,443 for 2020 (and at least that much each year going forward).  And, of course, because that’s the median price, half of Lincoln is looking at a tax increase of more – or much more than that.

 

But since this was heavily discussed and debated before the school vote, we shouldn’t be surprised, right?

 

Well, I don’t recall any discussion about implementing the “residential exemption” option that Jennifer Glass just sent around this afternoon, as part of the work of the Property Tax Study Committee (the “Committee”).

 

This never came up in Lincoln Talk, and – please, someone correct me if I’m wrong – this came up with the Committee only in late spring 2019, months AFTER the school vote, as part of the Committee’s Public Forum (I had to dig out that date and document).

 

One should read the summary that Jennifer provided (pasted below).  In a nutshell, the Board of Selectman can vote to INCREASE TAXES YET AGAIN, on the “rich” people in town, to benefit the “poor” people in town.  All without a town vote.  As a result of the increase in property taxes resulting for the school building vote.

 

Put another way – town residents were offered an opportunity to vote, yay or nay, on a very expensive new school project, with a tax increase calculation so that, at least, they could see how much their wallets would get hit for it.

 

Now, less than a year later, some of those same town residents are facing the possibility of being forced to pay EVEN MORE in taxes than was promised – all without a further vote by the town.  Just a simple majority vote by the Selectman.

 

Is no one else outraged by this?  Or are people simply falling in line with the promises made by certain presidential candidates – you can have free this and free that, all without paying a penny, simply because the “rich” will pay for it?  We’ll just tax “the rich”, and you will benefit, so vote for me!  (All of this without explaining how the math would work, since even seizing ALL of the wealth of the “rich”, as these candidates have called out, would not generate enough funding for their pet projects.)

 

The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.

 

When you voted in the town meeting on the new school building, did you think that your taxes might go up by 58.2%?

 

Do you think it’s right and fair that Lincoln could, choose to impose an ex post facto tax increase on 40% of the town?  Without another town-wide vote? 

 

Do you think that, since all of the tax increase figures were *known* prior to the school building vote, that any possibility of enacting the “residential exemption” option should have been highlighted before the school vote? 

 

Am I the only person that’s outraged that this is even on the table?

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Lincoln <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of Jennifer Glass via Lincoln
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 4:35 PM
To: LincolnTalk <[hidden email]>
Subject: [LincolnTalk] So you’ve seen your latest property tax bill...

 

Property Tax Study Committee 

Public Forum #2: Tuesday, October 15th, 7:00 - 8:30pm

Donaldson Room, Town Offices

 

Recognizing that the bond for the school project could have a disproportionately large financial impact on some Lincoln residents, the Property Tax Study Committee was appointed by the Board of Selectmen last January (https://www.lincolntown.org/1084/Property-Tax-Study-Committee). Its charge is to:

  • Understand, to the extent practicable, the scope and types of community needs.
  • Research and understand the implications of tax programs that are currently supported by state law, or are under consideration.
  • Seek input from the community to understand the appetite for such programs in the context of other town priorities.
  • Understand how private fundraising efforts could best be utilized to help those with demonstrated financial need.

The Committee has focused on two possible tax programs:

  1. Residential Exemption
  2. A local extension of the state Circuit Breaker program

Below is the article about these options that was published in the September edition of the Board of Selectmen’s newsletter. (To read the entire newsletter, click:  BOS News)

 

Please join us on October 15th to learn more, ask questions, and provide feedback!

 

Jennifer Glass, for the Committee

 

Property Tax Study Committee

<image001.png>

The Study Committee held its first public forum on June 18th. Using Lincoln’s vision statement as a framework, the Committee shared information about Lincoln’s demographics, available information about economic need, and the current utilization of existing tax abatement programs.  

The Committee also introduced two additional programs the Town could consider pursuing:

  1. Residential Exemption
    • A local option property tax exemption that is set at 0% - 35% of the Town’s average residential property value. The chosen % gets translated into a fixed amount that is deducted from every eligible residential assessment before the tax rate is applied.
    • The exemption applies only to owner-occupied properties.
    • The tax rate is then increased to make the program revenue-neutral.
    • All residential taxpayers (including owners of rental properties) pay the increased tax rate to keep the total tax levy the same; commercial properties are excluded.
    • The effect is to reduce taxes on eligible properties with valuations below a break-even point; it raises taxes on properties above the break-even point (roughly 60% of properties would be below and about 40% would be above the break-even point).
    • There are no age or income requirements.
    • May be enacted by a vote of the Selectmen; no additional approval requirements.

 

--
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Change your subscription settings at https://pairlist9.pair.net/mailman/listinfo/lincoln.

--
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Browse the archives at https://pairlist9.pair.net/mailman/private/lincoln/.
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--
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--
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Re: [LincolnTalk] Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

JEF LARS
Can anyone confirm or deny that the real estate tax increase RATE levied to homeowners, due to the school project, will decrease  over time?

I believe interest payments on the ~$90 million in bonds are fixed over the 30 year term. Assessed values will go up over time, so a decreasing % tax rate will suffice to service those fixed interest payments (of course the actual $$ tax stays the same). Is this logic correct?

The impact will take time to be felt, but if we assume a modest 2.5% / year increase in assessed values over the long term, that amounts to a 2x increase over 30 years. Which cuts a 15% tax hike into a 7.5% tax hike over the same duration. With these assumptions, 10 years from now the 15% hike becomes a 11.7% hike.

Erik

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 9:20 AM Sasha Golden <[hidden email]> wrote:
I'm fairly new here (5 years) -- didn't know about that. However, the document is now 10 years old -- do we know if anyone has dusted it off lately to take a hard look at it? Strategic plans aren't intended to be static.

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 9:16 AM Andy Wang <[hidden email]> wrote:
There was a 3 1/2 year effort that went into making the Comprehensive Long Range Plan  (2009).  Do you mean like that? 


It's an interesting read (document linked in description on page).

Andy




On Thu, Oct 3, 2019, 8:12 AM Sasha Golden <[hidden email]> wrote:
I think a strategic plan is an excellent idea whose time is overdue. We have any number of issues in this town which I think have some roots in a failure to relate with overall goals. What does this community want to be in 5 years? 10? 20? How do present actions connect to future goals?

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 7:30 AM Bijoy Misra <[hidden email]> wrote:
Friends,
I have not seen any strategic plan on behalf of the Town.  We seem to be event-driven and local
in our approach.  As a stable old community, a twenty or fifty year plan could be useful to create
guardrails on what should and can be done.  Since many mature and wise people exist in town,
the Board of Selectmen may institute such a vision document for the future work in town.
Demographics, economic diversity and social condition are important factors.  Each has nonlinear
effects which can only be objectively analyzed and possibly seen through into the future.
We do get lost in local solutions where issues appear piece-meal.  Good engineering needs good
planning.
Bijoy Misra

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 6:08 AM <[hidden email]> wrote:
Dennis,

I am not outraged- at least not any more.  I went through my period of outrage several years ago when I finally  realized that the town committees and boards in large part did not possess the genuine concern to ask even the simplest of questions of its citizenry regarding this issue. “How much of a percentage increase in your tax bill do you feel you can support for a school building project before you seriously question your ability or desire to remain in this town?”  This question is so fundamentally simple and could have been asked town-wide at any time from 2011-2016. But there was one teeny tiny problem -people didn’t want the answer.

There were folks who felt strongly that a new school was needed  all now and all at once- no matter the costs. There were also folks who felt strongly that the school and campus should look the way they, and not the State deemed it should look-no matter the costs. And these two groups worked well together. And now we have what we have.   How many homes are on the market now?  Do we think this issue will get better as a result of a change in tax policy?  

I send this email with great hesitation. I don’t mean at all to insult anyone who has ever volunteered for this town. But I also know that I asked at least four times for that question to be sent out - and the stares I got were shocking. I was too unfamiliar with the Lincoln Way it seemed. It eats me up inside.

Vincent
Please excuse spelling or syntax errors



On Wed, Oct 2, 2019 at 10:59 PM -0400, "Dennis Liu" <[hidden email]> wrote:

Here’s a shorter version of Sara’s note below:

 

“Let’s get together to form a committee, because committees are awesome, and governments work best when we all get together, and decide whether to increase taxes on SOME of the people in town, so as to reduce taxes for SOME of the other people in town.”  😊

 

Here are some bedrock truths, whether one likes them or not:

 

  1. Taxes have to go up to cover the very expensive school building project the town voted in favor of.
  2. We cannot at this point materially change the total amount of taxes needed to cover everything (the school building plus the other town budget items).
  3. Therefore, the only thing we can do – and the only two things that the Committee is contemplating – is to shift the tax burden among town residents, to one group that the committee/selectmen, in their wisdom, deem “should pay less”, from one group that are deemed “rich enough to afford to pay more.”

 

Oh, there is no doubt some nuance and complexity and context and color one could add to any of those three planks of truth.  But as I read the Committee’s output, those three truths are carved in stone.

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Sara Mattes <[hidden email]>
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 9:42 PM
To: Bijoy Misra <[hidden email]>
Cc: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>; Joanna Owen Schmergel via Lincoln <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

 

Please note that there has a committee that has been meeting to discuss this-the Property Tax Study Committee.

A meeting on Oct. 15 will roll out what has been learned to date about current status na and what options the town might adopt.

Jennifer Glass recently posted information about this on LT, and the Selectman’s most recent newsletter also addressed this.

Please review materials and attend the OCt. 15 forum as a precursor tot the State of the Town discussion.

All this will lead to choices posed in a. Warrant article or Town Meeting, and a potential ballot advisory question.

 

Please take much of the alarmist posts with a grain of salt (sugar?).

Some of the calculations are just plain wrong!

There are choices and the town can be a part of a discussion as to what makes most sense for the whole.

 

Please review materials and come to both the Oct. 15 forum and the SoTT to discuss.

 

Think about who we are today, and who we want to be tomorrow.

What is “community character?”

What do we want to preserve and what are the trade-offs to do so?

 

Let’s come together to discuss and discuss as how best to advise.

 

In solidarity,

Sara Mattes

 

 

 

 

 

 



On Oct 2, 2019, at 9:20 PM, Bijoy Misra <[hidden email]> wrote:

 

Friends,

From the town meeting on the tax increase it appeared that many had already made up their

minds to leave town.  The procrastinators would potentially be homeless in a few years.

I don't know if Town has a service for people in imposed financial stress.  It would be a

good test for the town in housing and in social welfare.

Bijoy Misra

 

On Wed, Oct 2, 2019 at 7:40 PM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Dear fellow Lincolnites:

 

When the new school proposal was being discussed, some folks here were Cassandras – warning that the increase in the tax rate would result in much higher property taxes.  Heck, even the *proponents* of the new school construction were agreeing that tax rates were going to go up significantly.  Several folks even sent emails around on this very point, offering calculations and calculators for residents to see what their personal property tax impact would be.

 

So if you read any of those (more than a few) warnings, should you really be “surprised” at how much your taxes went up?

 

Looking at our property tax bill today, the rate went from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019 to $15.36/$1,000 in 2020.  THAT IS A 9.5% INCREASE IN YOUR TAX RATE.

 

The median house value in Lincoln, per Zillow, is $1,084,900.  Which translates into a tax increase of $1,443 for 2020 (and at least that much each year going forward).  And, of course, because that’s the median price, half of Lincoln is looking at a tax increase of more – or much more than that.

 

But since this was heavily discussed and debated before the school vote, we shouldn’t be surprised, right?

 

Well, I don’t recall any discussion about implementing the “residential exemption” option that Jennifer Glass just sent around this afternoon, as part of the work of the Property Tax Study Committee (the “Committee”).

 

This never came up in Lincoln Talk, and – please, someone correct me if I’m wrong – this came up with the Committee only in late spring 2019, months AFTER the school vote, as part of the Committee’s Public Forum (I had to dig out that date and document).

 

One should read the summary that Jennifer provided (pasted below).  In a nutshell, the Board of Selectman can vote to INCREASE TAXES YET AGAIN, on the “rich” people in town, to benefit the “poor” people in town.  All without a town vote.  As a result of the increase in property taxes resulting for the school building vote.

 

Put another way – town residents were offered an opportunity to vote, yay or nay, on a very expensive new school project, with a tax increase calculation so that, at least, they could see how much their wallets would get hit for it.

 

Now, less than a year later, some of those same town residents are facing the possibility of being forced to pay EVEN MORE in taxes than was promised – all without a further vote by the town.  Just a simple majority vote by the Selectman.

 

Is no one else outraged by this?  Or are people simply falling in line with the promises made by certain presidential candidates – you can have free this and free that, all without paying a penny, simply because the “rich” will pay for it?  We’ll just tax “the rich”, and you will benefit, so vote for me!  (All of this without explaining how the math would work, since even seizing ALL of the wealth of the “rich”, as these candidates have called out, would not generate enough funding for their pet projects.)

 

The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.

 

When you voted in the town meeting on the new school building, did you think that your taxes might go up by 58.2%?

 

Do you think it’s right and fair that Lincoln could, choose to impose an ex post facto tax increase on 40% of the town?  Without another town-wide vote? 

 

Do you think that, since all of the tax increase figures were *known* prior to the school building vote, that any possibility of enacting the “residential exemption” option should have been highlighted before the school vote? 

 

Am I the only person that’s outraged that this is even on the table?

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Lincoln <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of Jennifer Glass via Lincoln
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 4:35 PM
To: LincolnTalk <[hidden email]>
Subject: [LincolnTalk] So you’ve seen your latest property tax bill...

 

Property Tax Study Committee 

Public Forum #2: Tuesday, October 15th, 7:00 - 8:30pm

Donaldson Room, Town Offices

 

Recognizing that the bond for the school project could have a disproportionately large financial impact on some Lincoln residents, the Property Tax Study Committee was appointed by the Board of Selectmen last January (https://www.lincolntown.org/1084/Property-Tax-Study-Committee). Its charge is to:

  • Understand, to the extent practicable, the scope and types of community needs.
  • Research and understand the implications of tax programs that are currently supported by state law, or are under consideration.
  • Seek input from the community to understand the appetite for such programs in the context of other town priorities.
  • Understand how private fundraising efforts could best be utilized to help those with demonstrated financial need.

The Committee has focused on two possible tax programs:

  1. Residential Exemption
  2. A local extension of the state Circuit Breaker program

Below is the article about these options that was published in the September edition of the Board of Selectmen’s newsletter. (To read the entire newsletter, click:  BOS News)

 

Please join us on October 15th to learn more, ask questions, and provide feedback!

 

Jennifer Glass, for the Committee

 

Property Tax Study Committee

<image001.png>

The Study Committee held its first public forum on June 18th. Using Lincoln’s vision statement as a framework, the Committee shared information about Lincoln’s demographics, available information about economic need, and the current utilization of existing tax abatement programs.  

The Committee also introduced two additional programs the Town could consider pursuing:

  1. Residential Exemption
    • A local option property tax exemption that is set at 0% - 35% of the Town’s average residential property value. The chosen % gets translated into a fixed amount that is deducted from every eligible residential assessment before the tax rate is applied.
    • The exemption applies only to owner-occupied properties.
    • The tax rate is then increased to make the program revenue-neutral.
    • All residential taxpayers (including owners of rental properties) pay the increased tax rate to keep the total tax levy the same; commercial properties are excluded.
    • The effect is to reduce taxes on eligible properties with valuations below a break-even point; it raises taxes on properties above the break-even point (roughly 60% of properties would be below and about 40% would be above the break-even point).
    • There are no age or income requirements.
    • May be enacted by a vote of the Selectmen; no additional approval requirements.

 

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Re: [LincolnTalk] Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

Lincoln mailing list
Hi Jef,

I’m not sure if any one can confirm or deny anything relative to this issue. But I am happy to share my concerns:
There is nothing modest at all about a 2.5% appreciation per year, at least in terms of what the market is willing to pay for Lincoln homes. Based on all anecdotal evidence to date, there has been NO ONE who has purchased a home here since 1997, and gotten back what they paid for it upon resale. In cases where they did substantial work, they failed to recoup their investment.   It has been long known that Lincoln lags its neighbors and peers in housing appreciation. Yet this doesn’t seem to be a concern among town leadership.

The early evidence shows that the approval of the school project has now flooded the market with homes for sale. Particularly in the over 2M category. Yet none are selling, and prices are getting steeply discounted.  This in turn will put downward pressure on assessed values, which will in turn subsequently raise the rate, which will put more pressure on folks to sell.   

Another part of the issue I fear  is that Lincoln will, over time, turn into Sudbury.   Sudbury has the highest percentage of school aged children per capita in the state.   Families move in for the school, then move right out again once they graduate. Then another family moves in with school aged children. I love children as much as the next person. Yet they are expensive for a town with no commercial tax base. Empty nesters require virtually no services. So, I would not be surprised if the school budget must increase significantly within the next decade as a result of changing demographics, and some type of override will be required.

In my view, the town would be wise to do all they can to create a commercial district somewhere along Route 2. A mixed use development, preferably office, lab, and some retail would be able to generate at least 500k or more in tax revenues to the town net of services. It is clear that this town needs commercial development desperately, and Route 2 is a prime location. What is not so clear is how much the town is willing to give up in order to do it.

Vincent
Please excuse spelling or syntax errors



On Thu, Oct 17, 2019 at 1:01 AM -0400, "JEF LARS" <[hidden email]> wrote:

Can anyone confirm or deny that the real estate tax increase RATE levied to homeowners, due to the school project, will decrease  over time?

I believe interest payments on the ~$90 million in bonds are fixed over the 30 year term. Assessed values will go up over time, so a decreasing % tax rate will suffice to service those fixed interest payments (of course the actual $$ tax stays the same). Is this logic correct?

The impact will take time to be felt, but if we assume a modest 2.5% / year increase in assessed values over the long term, that amounts to a 2x increase over 30 years. Which cuts a 15% tax hike into a 7.5% tax hike over the same duration. With these assumptions, 10 years from now the 15% hike becomes a 11.7% hike.

Erik

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 9:20 AM Sasha Golden <[hidden email]> wrote:
I'm fairly new here (5 years) -- didn't know about that. However, the document is now 10 years old -- do we know if anyone has dusted it off lately to take a hard look at it? Strategic plans aren't intended to be static.

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 9:16 AM Andy Wang <[hidden email]> wrote:
There was a 3 1/2 year effort that went into making the Comprehensive Long Range Plan  (2009).  Do you mean like that? 


It's an interesting read (document linked in description on page).

Andy




On Thu, Oct 3, 2019, 8:12 AM Sasha Golden <[hidden email]> wrote:
I think a strategic plan is an excellent idea whose time is overdue. We have any number of issues in this town which I think have some roots in a failure to relate with overall goals. What does this community want to be in 5 years? 10? 20? How do present actions connect to future goals?

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 7:30 AM Bijoy Misra <[hidden email]> wrote:
Friends,
I have not seen any strategic plan on behalf of the Town.  We seem to be event-driven and local
in our approach.  As a stable old community, a twenty or fifty year plan could be useful to create
guardrails on what should and can be done.  Since many mature and wise people exist in town,
the Board of Selectmen may institute such a vision document for the future work in town.
Demographics, economic diversity and social condition are important factors.  Each has nonlinear
effects which can only be objectively analyzed and possibly seen through into the future.
We do get lost in local solutions where issues appear piece-meal.  Good engineering needs good
planning.
Bijoy Misra

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 6:08 AM <[hidden email]> wrote:
Dennis,

I am not outraged- at least not any more.  I went through my period of outrage several years ago when I finally  realized that the town committees and boards in large part did not possess the genuine concern to ask even the simplest of questions of its citizenry regarding this issue. “How much of a percentage increase in your tax bill do you feel you can support for a school building project before you seriously question your ability or desire to remain in this town?”  This question is so fundamentally simple and could have been asked town-wide at any time from 2011-2016. But there was one teeny tiny problem -people didn’t want the answer.

There were folks who felt strongly that a new school was needed  all now and all at once- no matter the costs. There were also folks who felt strongly that the school and campus should look the way they, and not the State deemed it should look-no matter the costs. And these two groups worked well together. And now we have what we have.   How many homes are on the market now?  Do we think this issue will get better as a result of a change in tax policy?  

I send this email with great hesitation. I don’t mean at all to insult anyone who has ever volunteered for this town. But I also know that I asked at least four times for that question to be sent out - and the stares I got were shocking. I was too unfamiliar with the Lincoln Way it seemed. It eats me up inside.

Vincent
Please excuse spelling or syntax errors



On Wed, Oct 2, 2019 at 10:59 PM -0400, "Dennis Liu" <[hidden email]> wrote:

Here’s a shorter version of Sara’s note below:

 

“Let’s get together to form a committee, because committees are awesome, and governments work best when we all get together, and decide whether to increase taxes on SOME of the people in town, so as to reduce taxes for SOME of the other people in town.”  😊

 

Here are some bedrock truths, whether one likes them or not:

 

  1. Taxes have to go up to cover the very expensive school building project the town voted in favor of.
  2. We cannot at this point materially change the total amount of taxes needed to cover everything (the school building plus the other town budget items).
  3. Therefore, the only thing we can do – and the only two things that the Committee is contemplating – is to shift the tax burden among town residents, to one group that the committee/selectmen, in their wisdom, deem “should pay less”, from one group that are deemed “rich enough to afford to pay more.”

 

Oh, there is no doubt some nuance and complexity and context and color one could add to any of those three planks of truth.  But as I read the Committee’s output, those three truths are carved in stone.

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Sara Mattes <[hidden email]>
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 9:42 PM
To: Bijoy Misra <[hidden email]>
Cc: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>; Joanna Owen Schmergel via Lincoln <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

 

Please note that there has a committee that has been meeting to discuss this-the Property Tax Study Committee.

A meeting on Oct. 15 will roll out what has been learned to date about current status na and what options the town might adopt.

Jennifer Glass recently posted information about this on LT, and the Selectman’s most recent newsletter also addressed this.

Please review materials and attend the OCt. 15 forum as a precursor tot the State of the Town discussion.

All this will lead to choices posed in a. Warrant article or Town Meeting, and a potential ballot advisory question.

 

Please take much of the alarmist posts with a grain of salt (sugar?).

Some of the calculations are just plain wrong!

There are choices and the town can be a part of a discussion as to what makes most sense for the whole.

 

Please review materials and come to both the Oct. 15 forum and the SoTT to discuss.

 

Think about who we are today, and who we want to be tomorrow.

What is “community character?”

What do we want to preserve and what are the trade-offs to do so?

 

Let’s come together to discuss and discuss as how best to advise.

 

In solidarity,

Sara Mattes

 

 

 

 

 

 



On Oct 2, 2019, at 9:20 PM, Bijoy Misra <[hidden email]> wrote:

 

Friends,

From the town meeting on the tax increase it appeared that many had already made up their

minds to leave town.  The procrastinators would potentially be homeless in a few years.

I don't know if Town has a service for people in imposed financial stress.  It would be a

good test for the town in housing and in social welfare.

Bijoy Misra

 

On Wed, Oct 2, 2019 at 7:40 PM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Dear fellow Lincolnites:

 

When the new school proposal was being discussed, some folks here were Cassandras – warning that the increase in the tax rate would result in much higher property taxes.  Heck, even the *proponents* of the new school construction were agreeing that tax rates were going to go up significantly.  Several folks even sent emails around on this very point, offering calculations and calculators for residents to see what their personal property tax impact would be.

 

So if you read any of those (more than a few) warnings, should you really be “surprised” at how much your taxes went up?

 

Looking at our property tax bill today, the rate went from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019 to $15.36/$1,000 in 2020.  THAT IS A 9.5% INCREASE IN YOUR TAX RATE.

 

The median house value in Lincoln, per Zillow, is $1,084,900.  Which translates into a tax increase of $1,443 for 2020 (and at least that much each year going forward).  And, of course, because that’s the median price, half of Lincoln is looking at a tax increase of more – or much more than that.

 

But since this was heavily discussed and debated before the school vote, we shouldn’t be surprised, right?

 

Well, I don’t recall any discussion about implementing the “residential exemption” option that Jennifer Glass just sent around this afternoon, as part of the work of the Property Tax Study Committee (the “Committee”).

 

This never came up in Lincoln Talk, and – please, someone correct me if I’m wrong – this came up with the Committee only in late spring 2019, months AFTER the school vote, as part of the Committee’s Public Forum (I had to dig out that date and document).

 

One should read the summary that Jennifer provided (pasted below).  In a nutshell, the Board of Selectman can vote to INCREASE TAXES YET AGAIN, on the “rich” people in town, to benefit the “poor” people in town.  All without a town vote.  As a result of the increase in property taxes resulting for the school building vote.

 

Put another way – town residents were offered an opportunity to vote, yay or nay, on a very expensive new school project, with a tax increase calculation so that, at least, they could see how much their wallets would get hit for it.

 

Now, less than a year later, some of those same town residents are facing the possibility of being forced to pay EVEN MORE in taxes than was promised – all without a further vote by the town.  Just a simple majority vote by the Selectman.

 

Is no one else outraged by this?  Or are people simply falling in line with the promises made by certain presidential candidates – you can have free this and free that, all without paying a penny, simply because the “rich” will pay for it?  We’ll just tax “the rich”, and you will benefit, so vote for me!  (All of this without explaining how the math would work, since even seizing ALL of the wealth of the “rich”, as these candidates have called out, would not generate enough funding for their pet projects.)

 

The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.

 

When you voted in the town meeting on the new school building, did you think that your taxes might go up by 58.2%?

 

Do you think it’s right and fair that Lincoln could, choose to impose an ex post facto tax increase on 40% of the town?  Without another town-wide vote? 

 

Do you think that, since all of the tax increase figures were *known* prior to the school building vote, that any possibility of enacting the “residential exemption” option should have been highlighted before the school vote? 

 

Am I the only person that’s outraged that this is even on the table?

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Lincoln <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of Jennifer Glass via Lincoln
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 4:35 PM
To: LincolnTalk <[hidden email]>
Subject: [LincolnTalk] So you’ve seen your latest property tax bill...

 

Property Tax Study Committee 

Public Forum #2: Tuesday, October 15th, 7:00 - 8:30pm

Donaldson Room, Town Offices

 

Recognizing that the bond for the school project could have a disproportionately large financial impact on some Lincoln residents, the Property Tax Study Committee was appointed by the Board of Selectmen last January (https://www.lincolntown.org/1084/Property-Tax-Study-Committee). Its charge is to:

  • Understand, to the extent practicable, the scope and types of community needs.
  • Research and understand the implications of tax programs that are currently supported by state law, or are under consideration.
  • Seek input from the community to understand the appetite for such programs in the context of other town priorities.
  • Understand how private fundraising efforts could best be utilized to help those with demonstrated financial need.

The Committee has focused on two possible tax programs:

  1. Residential Exemption
  2. A local extension of the state Circuit Breaker program

Below is the article about these options that was published in the September edition of the Board of Selectmen’s newsletter. (To read the entire newsletter, click:  BOS News)

 

Please join us on October 15th to learn more, ask questions, and provide feedback!

 

Jennifer Glass, for the Committee

 

Property Tax Study Committee

<image001.png>

The Study Committee held its first public forum on June 18th. Using Lincoln’s vision statement as a framework, the Committee shared information about Lincoln’s demographics, available information about economic need, and the current utilization of existing tax abatement programs.  

The Committee also introduced two additional programs the Town could consider pursuing:

  1. Residential Exemption
    • A local option property tax exemption that is set at 0% - 35% of the Town’s average residential property value. The chosen % gets translated into a fixed amount that is deducted from every eligible residential assessment before the tax rate is applied.
    • The exemption applies only to owner-occupied properties.
    • The tax rate is then increased to make the program revenue-neutral.
    • All residential taxpayers (including owners of rental properties) pay the increased tax rate to keep the total tax levy the same; commercial properties are excluded.
    • The effect is to reduce taxes on eligible properties with valuations below a break-even point; it raises taxes on properties above the break-even point (roughly 60% of properties would be below and about 40% would be above the break-even point).
    • There are no age or income requirements.
    • May be enacted by a vote of the Selectmen; no additional approval requirements.

 

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Re: [LincolnTalk] Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

Caitlin Hogue
This response isn't specific to the tax rates, but I do want to point out that school enrollments in general across Massachusetts are declining, as a result of a variety of factors (including, but not only because of, lower birth rates overall and the fact that many families are waiting longer to have children). Sudbury appears to be following the same trend of declining enrollments (http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/profiles/student.aspx?orgcode=02880000&orgtypecode=5&)

Grades PK-8
Year Enrollment % Change from prior year
2018-19 2653 -1.6%
2017-18 2696 -3.8%
2016-17 2803 -0.7%
2015-16 2822 -1.8%
2014-15 2874 -1.7%
2013-14 2925 -2.7%
2012-13 3006 -2.3%
2011-12 3077 -0.6%
2010-11 3095 -2.2%
2009-10 3164 -1.9%
2008-09 3224 -0.2%
2007-08 3232  

I point this out only to provide some data as background to the argument that we are going to become like Sudbury, where families move in for the schools, and leave when students graduate. This anecdotal description of Sudbury was present when I went to LS in the early 2000s, and certainly felt true to me based on what happened with my friends' families. However -- even if this is the case, the families who are moving in have fewer children in public school (on average) than the families who have left (as evidenced by declining overall total enrollment in the table above), so I'm not sure the argument about school budgets increasing because of "changing demographics" necessarily holds. Obviously Lincoln is currently different than Sudbury, and if empty nesters are selling their homes at high rates to families with children, the total enrollment in Lincoln would increase. But I do think it's worth pointing out that even in a town with a very high percentage of school age children, the total enrollment in the public schools has been consistently declining over recent years.

Best,
Katy Hogue



On Thu, Oct 17, 2019 at 7:07 AM Vin Cannistraro via Lincoln <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi Jef,

I’m not sure if any one can confirm or deny anything relative to this issue. But I am happy to share my concerns:
There is nothing modest at all about a 2.5% appreciation per year, at least in terms of what the market is willing to pay for Lincoln homes. Based on all anecdotal evidence to date, there has been NO ONE who has purchased a home here since 1997, and gotten back what they paid for it upon resale. In cases where they did substantial work, they failed to recoup their investment.   It has been long known that Lincoln lags its neighbors and peers in housing appreciation. Yet this doesn’t seem to be a concern among town leadership.

The early evidence shows that the approval of the school project has now flooded the market with homes for sale. Particularly in the over 2M category. Yet none are selling, and prices are getting steeply discounted.  This in turn will put downward pressure on assessed values, which will in turn subsequently raise the rate, which will put more pressure on folks to sell.   

Another part of the issue I fear  is that Lincoln will, over time, turn into Sudbury.   Sudbury has the highest percentage of school aged children per capita in the state.   Families move in for the school, then move right out again once they graduate. Then another family moves in with school aged children. I love children as much as the next person. Yet they are expensive for a town with no commercial tax base. Empty nesters require virtually no services. So, I would not be surprised if the school budget must increase significantly within the next decade as a result of changing demographics, and some type of override will be required.

In my view, the town would be wise to do all they can to create a commercial district somewhere along Route 2. A mixed use development, preferably office, lab, and some retail would be able to generate at least 500k or more in tax revenues to the town net of services. It is clear that this town needs commercial development desperately, and Route 2 is a prime location. What is not so clear is how much the town is willing to give up in order to do it.

Vincent
Please excuse spelling or syntax errors



On Thu, Oct 17, 2019 at 1:01 AM -0400, "JEF LARS" <[hidden email]> wrote:

Can anyone confirm or deny that the real estate tax increase RATE levied to homeowners, due to the school project, will decrease  over time?

I believe interest payments on the ~$90 million in bonds are fixed over the 30 year term. Assessed values will go up over time, so a decreasing % tax rate will suffice to service those fixed interest payments (of course the actual $$ tax stays the same). Is this logic correct?

The impact will take time to be felt, but if we assume a modest 2.5% / year increase in assessed values over the long term, that amounts to a 2x increase over 30 years. Which cuts a 15% tax hike into a 7.5% tax hike over the same duration. With these assumptions, 10 years from now the 15% hike becomes a 11.7% hike.

Erik

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 9:20 AM Sasha Golden <[hidden email]> wrote:
I'm fairly new here (5 years) -- didn't know about that. However, the document is now 10 years old -- do we know if anyone has dusted it off lately to take a hard look at it? Strategic plans aren't intended to be static.

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 9:16 AM Andy Wang <[hidden email]> wrote:
There was a 3 1/2 year effort that went into making the Comprehensive Long Range Plan  (2009).  Do you mean like that? 


It's an interesting read (document linked in description on page).

Andy




On Thu, Oct 3, 2019, 8:12 AM Sasha Golden <[hidden email]> wrote:
I think a strategic plan is an excellent idea whose time is overdue. We have any number of issues in this town which I think have some roots in a failure to relate with overall goals. What does this community want to be in 5 years? 10? 20? How do present actions connect to future goals?

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 7:30 AM Bijoy Misra <[hidden email]> wrote:
Friends,
I have not seen any strategic plan on behalf of the Town.  We seem to be event-driven and local
in our approach.  As a stable old community, a twenty or fifty year plan could be useful to create
guardrails on what should and can be done.  Since many mature and wise people exist in town,
the Board of Selectmen may institute such a vision document for the future work in town.
Demographics, economic diversity and social condition are important factors.  Each has nonlinear
effects which can only be objectively analyzed and possibly seen through into the future.
We do get lost in local solutions where issues appear piece-meal.  Good engineering needs good
planning.
Bijoy Misra

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 6:08 AM <[hidden email]> wrote:
Dennis,

I am not outraged- at least not any more.  I went through my period of outrage several years ago when I finally  realized that the town committees and boards in large part did not possess the genuine concern to ask even the simplest of questions of its citizenry regarding this issue. “How much of a percentage increase in your tax bill do you feel you can support for a school building project before you seriously question your ability or desire to remain in this town?”  This question is so fundamentally simple and could have been asked town-wide at any time from 2011-2016. But there was one teeny tiny problem -people didn’t want the answer.

There were folks who felt strongly that a new school was needed  all now and all at once- no matter the costs. There were also folks who felt strongly that the school and campus should look the way they, and not the State deemed it should look-no matter the costs. And these two groups worked well together. And now we have what we have.   How many homes are on the market now?  Do we think this issue will get better as a result of a change in tax policy?  

I send this email with great hesitation. I don’t mean at all to insult anyone who has ever volunteered for this town. But I also know that I asked at least four times for that question to be sent out - and the stares I got were shocking. I was too unfamiliar with the Lincoln Way it seemed. It eats me up inside.

Vincent
Please excuse spelling or syntax errors



On Wed, Oct 2, 2019 at 10:59 PM -0400, "Dennis Liu" <[hidden email]> wrote:

Here’s a shorter version of Sara’s note below:

 

“Let’s get together to form a committee, because committees are awesome, and governments work best when we all get together, and decide whether to increase taxes on SOME of the people in town, so as to reduce taxes for SOME of the other people in town.”  😊

 

Here are some bedrock truths, whether one likes them or not:

 

  1. Taxes have to go up to cover the very expensive school building project the town voted in favor of.
  2. We cannot at this point materially change the total amount of taxes needed to cover everything (the school building plus the other town budget items).
  3. Therefore, the only thing we can do – and the only two things that the Committee is contemplating – is to shift the tax burden among town residents, to one group that the committee/selectmen, in their wisdom, deem “should pay less”, from one group that are deemed “rich enough to afford to pay more.”

 

Oh, there is no doubt some nuance and complexity and context and color one could add to any of those three planks of truth.  But as I read the Committee’s output, those three truths are carved in stone.

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Sara Mattes <[hidden email]>
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 9:42 PM
To: Bijoy Misra <[hidden email]>
Cc: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>; Joanna Owen Schmergel via Lincoln <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

 

Please note that there has a committee that has been meeting to discuss this-the Property Tax Study Committee.

A meeting on Oct. 15 will roll out what has been learned to date about current status na and what options the town might adopt.

Jennifer Glass recently posted information about this on LT, and the Selectman’s most recent newsletter also addressed this.

Please review materials and attend the OCt. 15 forum as a precursor tot the State of the Town discussion.

All this will lead to choices posed in a. Warrant article or Town Meeting, and a potential ballot advisory question.

 

Please take much of the alarmist posts with a grain of salt (sugar?).

Some of the calculations are just plain wrong!

There are choices and the town can be a part of a discussion as to what makes most sense for the whole.

 

Please review materials and come to both the Oct. 15 forum and the SoTT to discuss.

 

Think about who we are today, and who we want to be tomorrow.

What is “community character?”

What do we want to preserve and what are the trade-offs to do so?

 

Let’s come together to discuss and discuss as how best to advise.

 

In solidarity,

Sara Mattes

 

 

 

 

 

 



On Oct 2, 2019, at 9:20 PM, Bijoy Misra <[hidden email]> wrote:

 

Friends,

From the town meeting on the tax increase it appeared that many had already made up their

minds to leave town.  The procrastinators would potentially be homeless in a few years.

I don't know if Town has a service for people in imposed financial stress.  It would be a

good test for the town in housing and in social welfare.

Bijoy Misra

 

On Wed, Oct 2, 2019 at 7:40 PM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Dear fellow Lincolnites:

 

When the new school proposal was being discussed, some folks here were Cassandras – warning that the increase in the tax rate would result in much higher property taxes.  Heck, even the *proponents* of the new school construction were agreeing that tax rates were going to go up significantly.  Several folks even sent emails around on this very point, offering calculations and calculators for residents to see what their personal property tax impact would be.

 

So if you read any of those (more than a few) warnings, should you really be “surprised” at how much your taxes went up?

 

Looking at our property tax bill today, the rate went from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019 to $15.36/$1,000 in 2020.  THAT IS A 9.5% INCREASE IN YOUR TAX RATE.

 

The median house value in Lincoln, per Zillow, is $1,084,900.  Which translates into a tax increase of $1,443 for 2020 (and at least that much each year going forward).  And, of course, because that’s the median price, half of Lincoln is looking at a tax increase of more – or much more than that.

 

But since this was heavily discussed and debated before the school vote, we shouldn’t be surprised, right?

 

Well, I don’t recall any discussion about implementing the “residential exemption” option that Jennifer Glass just sent around this afternoon, as part of the work of the Property Tax Study Committee (the “Committee”).

 

This never came up in Lincoln Talk, and – please, someone correct me if I’m wrong – this came up with the Committee only in late spring 2019, months AFTER the school vote, as part of the Committee’s Public Forum (I had to dig out that date and document).

 

One should read the summary that Jennifer provided (pasted below).  In a nutshell, the Board of Selectman can vote to INCREASE TAXES YET AGAIN, on the “rich” people in town, to benefit the “poor” people in town.  All without a town vote.  As a result of the increase in property taxes resulting for the school building vote.

 

Put another way – town residents were offered an opportunity to vote, yay or nay, on a very expensive new school project, with a tax increase calculation so that, at least, they could see how much their wallets would get hit for it.

 

Now, less than a year later, some of those same town residents are facing the possibility of being forced to pay EVEN MORE in taxes than was promised – all without a further vote by the town.  Just a simple majority vote by the Selectman.

 

Is no one else outraged by this?  Or are people simply falling in line with the promises made by certain presidential candidates – you can have free this and free that, all without paying a penny, simply because the “rich” will pay for it?  We’ll just tax “the rich”, and you will benefit, so vote for me!  (All of this without explaining how the math would work, since even seizing ALL of the wealth of the “rich”, as these candidates have called out, would not generate enough funding for their pet projects.)

 

The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.

 

When you voted in the town meeting on the new school building, did you think that your taxes might go up by 58.2%?

 

Do you think it’s right and fair that Lincoln could, choose to impose an ex post facto tax increase on 40% of the town?  Without another town-wide vote? 

 

Do you think that, since all of the tax increase figures were *known* prior to the school building vote, that any possibility of enacting the “residential exemption” option should have been highlighted before the school vote? 

 

Am I the only person that’s outraged that this is even on the table?

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Lincoln <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of Jennifer Glass via Lincoln
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 4:35 PM
To: LincolnTalk <[hidden email]>
Subject: [LincolnTalk] So you’ve seen your latest property tax bill...

 

Property Tax Study Committee 

Public Forum #2: Tuesday, October 15th, 7:00 - 8:30pm

Donaldson Room, Town Offices

 

Recognizing that the bond for the school project could have a disproportionately large financial impact on some Lincoln residents, the Property Tax Study Committee was appointed by the Board of Selectmen last January (https://www.lincolntown.org/1084/Property-Tax-Study-Committee). Its charge is to:

  • Understand, to the extent practicable, the scope and types of community needs.
  • Research and understand the implications of tax programs that are currently supported by state law, or are under consideration.
  • Seek input from the community to understand the appetite for such programs in the context of other town priorities.
  • Understand how private fundraising efforts could best be utilized to help those with demonstrated financial need.

The Committee has focused on two possible tax programs:

  1. Residential Exemption
  2. A local extension of the state Circuit Breaker program

Below is the article about these options that was published in the September edition of the Board of Selectmen’s newsletter. (To read the entire newsletter, click:  BOS News)

 

Please join us on October 15th to learn more, ask questions, and provide feedback!

 

Jennifer Glass, for the Committee

 

Property Tax Study Committee

<image001.png>

The Study Committee held its first public forum on June 18th. Using Lincoln’s vision statement as a framework, the Committee shared information about Lincoln’s demographics, available information about economic need, and the current utilization of existing tax abatement programs.  

The Committee also introduced two additional programs the Town could consider pursuing:

  1. Residential Exemption
    • A local option property tax exemption that is set at 0% - 35% of the Town’s average residential property value. The chosen % gets translated into a fixed amount that is deducted from every eligible residential assessment before the tax rate is applied.
    • The exemption applies only to owner-occupied properties.
    • The tax rate is then increased to make the program revenue-neutral.
    • All residential taxpayers (including owners of rental properties) pay the increased tax rate to keep the total tax levy the same; commercial properties are excluded.
    • The effect is to reduce taxes on eligible properties with valuations below a break-even point; it raises taxes on properties above the break-even point (roughly 60% of properties would be below and about 40% would be above the break-even point).
    • There are no age or income requirements.
    • May be enacted by a vote of the Selectmen; no additional approval requirements.

 

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Re: [LincolnTalk] Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

Lincoln mailing list
To clarify, my comment about changing demographics was intended to be limited to how Lincoln would change as a result of the tax increase.  Declining enrollments statewide notwithstanding, I am concerned that Lincoln is about to change from a town where folks stayed their lives to one like Sudbury where they stay for about 15 years.

Vincent
Please excuse spelling or syntax errors



On Thu, Oct 17, 2019 at 7:47 AM -0400, "Caitlin Hogue" <[hidden email]> wrote:

This response isn't specific to the tax rates, but I do want to point out that school enrollments in general across Massachusetts are declining, as a result of a variety of factors (including, but not only because of, lower birth rates overall and the fact that many families are waiting longer to have children). Sudbury appears to be following the same trend of declining enrollments (http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/profiles/student.aspx?orgcode=02880000&orgtypecode=5&)

Grades PK-8
Year Enrollment % Change from prior year
2018-19 2653 -1.6%
2017-18 2696 -3.8%
2016-17 2803 -0.7%
2015-16 2822 -1.8%
2014-15 2874 -1.7%
2013-14 2925 -2.7%
2012-13 3006 -2.3%
2011-12 3077 -0.6%
2010-11 3095 -2.2%
2009-10 3164 -1.9%
2008-09 3224 -0.2%
2007-08 3232  

I point this out only to provide some data as background to the argument that we are going to become like Sudbury, where families move in for the schools, and leave when students graduate. This anecdotal description of Sudbury was present when I went to LS in the early 2000s, and certainly felt true to me based on what happened with my friends' families. However -- even if this is the case, the families who are moving in have fewer children in public school (on average) than the families who have left (as evidenced by declining overall total enrollment in the table above), so I'm not sure the argument about school budgets increasing because of "changing demographics" necessarily holds. Obviously Lincoln is currently different than Sudbury, and if empty nesters are selling their homes at high rates to families with children, the total enrollment in Lincoln would increase. But I do think it's worth pointing out that even in a town with a very high percentage of school age children, the total enrollment in the public schools has been consistently declining over recent years.

Best,
Katy Hogue



On Thu, Oct 17, 2019 at 7:07 AM Vin Cannistraro via Lincoln <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi Jef,

I’m not sure if any one can confirm or deny anything relative to this issue. But I am happy to share my concerns:
There is nothing modest at all about a 2.5% appreciation per year, at least in terms of what the market is willing to pay for Lincoln homes. Based on all anecdotal evidence to date, there has been NO ONE who has purchased a home here since 1997, and gotten back what they paid for it upon resale. In cases where they did substantial work, they failed to recoup their investment.   It has been long known that Lincoln lags its neighbors and peers in housing appreciation. Yet this doesn’t seem to be a concern among town leadership.

The early evidence shows that the approval of the school project has now flooded the market with homes for sale. Particularly in the over 2M category. Yet none are selling, and prices are getting steeply discounted.  This in turn will put downward pressure on assessed values, which will in turn subsequently raise the rate, which will put more pressure on folks to sell.   

Another part of the issue I fear  is that Lincoln will, over time, turn into Sudbury.   Sudbury has the highest percentage of school aged children per capita in the state.   Families move in for the school, then move right out again once they graduate. Then another family moves in with school aged children. I love children as much as the next person. Yet they are expensive for a town with no commercial tax base. Empty nesters require virtually no services. So, I would not be surprised if the school budget must increase significantly within the next decade as a result of changing demographics, and some type of override will be required.

In my view, the town would be wise to do all they can to create a commercial district somewhere along Route 2. A mixed use development, preferably office, lab, and some retail would be able to generate at least 500k or more in tax revenues to the town net of services. It is clear that this town needs commercial development desperately, and Route 2 is a prime location. What is not so clear is how much the town is willing to give up in order to do it.

Vincent
Please excuse spelling or syntax errors



On Thu, Oct 17, 2019 at 1:01 AM -0400, "JEF LARS" <[hidden email]> wrote:

Can anyone confirm or deny that the real estate tax increase RATE levied to homeowners, due to the school project, will decrease  over time?

I believe interest payments on the ~$90 million in bonds are fixed over the 30 year term. Assessed values will go up over time, so a decreasing % tax rate will suffice to service those fixed interest payments (of course the actual $$ tax stays the same). Is this logic correct?

The impact will take time to be felt, but if we assume a modest 2.5% / year increase in assessed values over the long term, that amounts to a 2x increase over 30 years. Which cuts a 15% tax hike into a 7.5% tax hike over the same duration. With these assumptions, 10 years from now the 15% hike becomes a 11.7% hike.

Erik

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 9:20 AM Sasha Golden <[hidden email]> wrote:
I'm fairly new here (5 years) -- didn't know about that. However, the document is now 10 years old -- do we know if anyone has dusted it off lately to take a hard look at it? Strategic plans aren't intended to be static.

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 9:16 AM Andy Wang <[hidden email]> wrote:
There was a 3 1/2 year effort that went into making the Comprehensive Long Range Plan  (2009).  Do you mean like that? 


It's an interesting read (document linked in description on page).

Andy




On Thu, Oct 3, 2019, 8:12 AM Sasha Golden <[hidden email]> wrote:
I think a strategic plan is an excellent idea whose time is overdue. We have any number of issues in this town which I think have some roots in a failure to relate with overall goals. What does this community want to be in 5 years? 10? 20? How do present actions connect to future goals?

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 7:30 AM Bijoy Misra <[hidden email]> wrote:
Friends,
I have not seen any strategic plan on behalf of the Town.  We seem to be event-driven and local
in our approach.  As a stable old community, a twenty or fifty year plan could be useful to create
guardrails on what should and can be done.  Since many mature and wise people exist in town,
the Board of Selectmen may institute such a vision document for the future work in town.
Demographics, economic diversity and social condition are important factors.  Each has nonlinear
effects which can only be objectively analyzed and possibly seen through into the future.
We do get lost in local solutions where issues appear piece-meal.  Good engineering needs good
planning.
Bijoy Misra

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 6:08 AM <[hidden email]> wrote:
Dennis,

I am not outraged- at least not any more.  I went through my period of outrage several years ago when I finally  realized that the town committees and boards in large part did not possess the genuine concern to ask even the simplest of questions of its citizenry regarding this issue. “How much of a percentage increase in your tax bill do you feel you can support for a school building project before you seriously question your ability or desire to remain in this town?”  This question is so fundamentally simple and could have been asked town-wide at any time from 2011-2016. But there was one teeny tiny problem -people didn’t want the answer.

There were folks who felt strongly that a new school was needed  all now and all at once- no matter the costs. There were also folks who felt strongly that the school and campus should look the way they, and not the State deemed it should look-no matter the costs. And these two groups worked well together. And now we have what we have.   How many homes are on the market now?  Do we think this issue will get better as a result of a change in tax policy?  

I send this email with great hesitation. I don’t mean at all to insult anyone who has ever volunteered for this town. But I also know that I asked at least four times for that question to be sent out - and the stares I got were shocking. I was too unfamiliar with the Lincoln Way it seemed. It eats me up inside.

Vincent
Please excuse spelling or syntax errors



On Wed, Oct 2, 2019 at 10:59 PM -0400, "Dennis Liu" <[hidden email]> wrote:

Here’s a shorter version of Sara’s note below:

 

“Let’s get together to form a committee, because committees are awesome, and governments work best when we all get together, and decide whether to increase taxes on SOME of the people in town, so as to reduce taxes for SOME of the other people in town.”  😊

 

Here are some bedrock truths, whether one likes them or not:

 

  1. Taxes have to go up to cover the very expensive school building project the town voted in favor of.
  2. We cannot at this point materially change the total amount of taxes needed to cover everything (the school building plus the other town budget items).
  3. Therefore, the only thing we can do – and the only two things that the Committee is contemplating – is to shift the tax burden among town residents, to one group that the committee/selectmen, in their wisdom, deem “should pay less”, from one group that are deemed “rich enough to afford to pay more.”

 

Oh, there is no doubt some nuance and complexity and context and color one could add to any of those three planks of truth.  But as I read the Committee’s output, those three truths are carved in stone.

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Sara Mattes <[hidden email]>
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 9:42 PM
To: Bijoy Misra <[hidden email]>
Cc: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>; Joanna Owen Schmergel via Lincoln <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

 

Please note that there has a committee that has been meeting to discuss this-the Property Tax Study Committee.

A meeting on Oct. 15 will roll out what has been learned to date about current status na and what options the town might adopt.

Jennifer Glass recently posted information about this on LT, and the Selectman’s most recent newsletter also addressed this.

Please review materials and attend the OCt. 15 forum as a precursor tot the State of the Town discussion.

All this will lead to choices posed in a. Warrant article or Town Meeting, and a potential ballot advisory question.

 

Please take much of the alarmist posts with a grain of salt (sugar?).

Some of the calculations are just plain wrong!

There are choices and the town can be a part of a discussion as to what makes most sense for the whole.

 

Please review materials and come to both the Oct. 15 forum and the SoTT to discuss.

 

Think about who we are today, and who we want to be tomorrow.

What is “community character?”

What do we want to preserve and what are the trade-offs to do so?

 

Let’s come together to discuss and discuss as how best to advise.

 

In solidarity,

Sara Mattes

 

 

 

 

 

 



On Oct 2, 2019, at 9:20 PM, Bijoy Misra <[hidden email]> wrote:

 

Friends,

From the town meeting on the tax increase it appeared that many had already made up their

minds to leave town.  The procrastinators would potentially be homeless in a few years.

I don't know if Town has a service for people in imposed financial stress.  It would be a

good test for the town in housing and in social welfare.

Bijoy Misra

 

On Wed, Oct 2, 2019 at 7:40 PM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Dear fellow Lincolnites:

 

When the new school proposal was being discussed, some folks here were Cassandras – warning that the increase in the tax rate would result in much higher property taxes.  Heck, even the *proponents* of the new school construction were agreeing that tax rates were going to go up significantly.  Several folks even sent emails around on this very point, offering calculations and calculators for residents to see what their personal property tax impact would be.

 

So if you read any of those (more than a few) warnings, should you really be “surprised” at how much your taxes went up?

 

Looking at our property tax bill today, the rate went from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019 to $15.36/$1,000 in 2020.  THAT IS A 9.5% INCREASE IN YOUR TAX RATE.

 

The median house value in Lincoln, per Zillow, is $1,084,900.  Which translates into a tax increase of $1,443 for 2020 (and at least that much each year going forward).  And, of course, because that’s the median price, half of Lincoln is looking at a tax increase of more – or much more than that.

 

But since this was heavily discussed and debated before the school vote, we shouldn’t be surprised, right?

 

Well, I don’t recall any discussion about implementing the “residential exemption” option that Jennifer Glass just sent around this afternoon, as part of the work of the Property Tax Study Committee (the “Committee”).

 

This never came up in Lincoln Talk, and – please, someone correct me if I’m wrong – this came up with the Committee only in late spring 2019, months AFTER the school vote, as part of the Committee’s Public Forum (I had to dig out that date and document).

 

One should read the summary that Jennifer provided (pasted below).  In a nutshell, the Board of Selectman can vote to INCREASE TAXES YET AGAIN, on the “rich” people in town, to benefit the “poor” people in town.  All without a town vote.  As a result of the increase in property taxes resulting for the school building vote.

 

Put another way – town residents were offered an opportunity to vote, yay or nay, on a very expensive new school project, with a tax increase calculation so that, at least, they could see how much their wallets would get hit for it.

 

Now, less than a year later, some of those same town residents are facing the possibility of being forced to pay EVEN MORE in taxes than was promised – all without a further vote by the town.  Just a simple majority vote by the Selectman.

 

Is no one else outraged by this?  Or are people simply falling in line with the promises made by certain presidential candidates – you can have free this and free that, all without paying a penny, simply because the “rich” will pay for it?  We’ll just tax “the rich”, and you will benefit, so vote for me!  (All of this without explaining how the math would work, since even seizing ALL of the wealth of the “rich”, as these candidates have called out, would not generate enough funding for their pet projects.)

 

The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.

 

When you voted in the town meeting on the new school building, did you think that your taxes might go up by 58.2%?

 

Do you think it’s right and fair that Lincoln could, choose to impose an ex post facto tax increase on 40% of the town?  Without another town-wide vote? 

 

Do you think that, since all of the tax increase figures were *known* prior to the school building vote, that any possibility of enacting the “residential exemption” option should have been highlighted before the school vote? 

 

Am I the only person that’s outraged that this is even on the table?

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Lincoln <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of Jennifer Glass via Lincoln
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 4:35 PM
To: LincolnTalk <[hidden email]>
Subject: [LincolnTalk] So you’ve seen your latest property tax bill...

 

Property Tax Study Committee 

Public Forum #2: Tuesday, October 15th, 7:00 - 8:30pm

Donaldson Room, Town Offices

 

Recognizing that the bond for the school project could have a disproportionately large financial impact on some Lincoln residents, the Property Tax Study Committee was appointed by the Board of Selectmen last January (https://www.lincolntown.org/1084/Property-Tax-Study-Committee). Its charge is to:

  • Understand, to the extent practicable, the scope and types of community needs.
  • Research and understand the implications of tax programs that are currently supported by state law, or are under consideration.
  • Seek input from the community to understand the appetite for such programs in the context of other town priorities.
  • Understand how private fundraising efforts could best be utilized to help those with demonstrated financial need.

The Committee has focused on two possible tax programs:

  1. Residential Exemption
  2. A local extension of the state Circuit Breaker program

Below is the article about these options that was published in the September edition of the Board of Selectmen’s newsletter. (To read the entire newsletter, click:  BOS News)

 

Please join us on October 15th to learn more, ask questions, and provide feedback!

 

Jennifer Glass, for the Committee

 

Property Tax Study Committee

<image001.png>

The Study Committee held its first public forum on June 18th. Using Lincoln’s vision statement as a framework, the Committee shared information about Lincoln’s demographics, available information about economic need, and the current utilization of existing tax abatement programs.  

The Committee also introduced two additional programs the Town could consider pursuing:

  1. Residential Exemption
    • A local option property tax exemption that is set at 0% - 35% of the Town’s average residential property value. The chosen % gets translated into a fixed amount that is deducted from every eligible residential assessment before the tax rate is applied.
    • The exemption applies only to owner-occupied properties.
    • The tax rate is then increased to make the program revenue-neutral.
    • All residential taxpayers (including owners of rental properties) pay the increased tax rate to keep the total tax levy the same; commercial properties are excluded.
    • The effect is to reduce taxes on eligible properties with valuations below a break-even point; it raises taxes on properties above the break-even point (roughly 60% of properties would be below and about 40% would be above the break-even point).
    • There are no age or income requirements.
    • May be enacted by a vote of the Selectmen; no additional approval requirements.

 

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Re: [LincolnTalk] Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

Sabra Alden
But once they get here they will fall in love with the town just like we all have.
Sabra


Sent from my iPhone 

On Oct 17, 2019, at 9:43 AM, Vin Cannistraro via Lincoln <[hidden email]> wrote:


To clarify, my comment about changing demographics was intended to be limited to how Lincoln would change as a result of the tax increase.  Declining enrollments statewide notwithstanding, I am concerned that Lincoln is about to change from a town where folks stayed their lives to one like Sudbury where they stay for about 15 years.

Vincent
Please excuse spelling or syntax errors



On Thu, Oct 17, 2019 at 7:47 AM -0400, "Caitlin Hogue" <[hidden email]> wrote:

This response isn't specific to the tax rates, but I do want to point out that school enrollments in general across Massachusetts are declining, as a result of a variety of factors (including, but not only because of, lower birth rates overall and the fact that many families are waiting longer to have children). Sudbury appears to be following the same trend of declining enrollments (http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/profiles/student.aspx?orgcode=02880000&orgtypecode=5&)

Grades PK-8
Year Enrollment % Change from prior year
2018-19 2653 -1.6%
2017-18 2696 -3.8%
2016-17 2803 -0.7%
2015-16 2822 -1.8%
2014-15 2874 -1.7%
2013-14 2925 -2.7%
2012-13 3006 -2.3%
2011-12 3077 -0.6%
2010-11 3095 -2.2%
2009-10 3164 -1.9%
2008-09 3224 -0.2%
2007-08 3232  

I point this out only to provide some data as background to the argument that we are going to become like Sudbury, where families move in for the schools, and leave when students graduate. This anecdotal description of Sudbury was present when I went to LS in the early 2000s, and certainly felt true to me based on what happened with my friends' families. However -- even if this is the case, the families who are moving in have fewer children in public school (on average) than the families who have left (as evidenced by declining overall total enrollment in the table above), so I'm not sure the argument about school budgets increasing because of "changing demographics" necessarily holds. Obviously Lincoln is currently different than Sudbury, and if empty nesters are selling their homes at high rates to families with children, the total enrollment in Lincoln would increase. But I do think it's worth pointing out that even in a town with a very high percentage of school age children, the total enrollment in the public schools has been consistently declining over recent years.

Best,
Katy Hogue



On Thu, Oct 17, 2019 at 7:07 AM Vin Cannistraro via Lincoln <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi Jef,

I’m not sure if any one can confirm or deny anything relative to this issue. But I am happy to share my concerns:
There is nothing modest at all about a 2.5% appreciation per year, at least in terms of what the market is willing to pay for Lincoln homes. Based on all anecdotal evidence to date, there has been NO ONE who has purchased a home here since 1997, and gotten back what they paid for it upon resale. In cases where they did substantial work, they failed to recoup their investment.   It has been long known that Lincoln lags its neighbors and peers in housing appreciation. Yet this doesn’t seem to be a concern among town leadership.

The early evidence shows that the approval of the school project has now flooded the market with homes for sale. Particularly in the over 2M category. Yet none are selling, and prices are getting steeply discounted.  This in turn will put downward pressure on assessed values, which will in turn subsequently raise the rate, which will put more pressure on folks to sell.   

Another part of the issue I fear  is that Lincoln will, over time, turn into Sudbury.   Sudbury has the highest percentage of school aged children per capita in the state.   Families move in for the school, then move right out again once they graduate. Then another family moves in with school aged children. I love children as much as the next person. Yet they are expensive for a town with no commercial tax base. Empty nesters require virtually no services. So, I would not be surprised if the school budget must increase significantly within the next decade as a result of changing demographics, and some type of override will be required.

In my view, the town would be wise to do all they can to create a commercial district somewhere along Route 2. A mixed use development, preferably office, lab, and some retail would be able to generate at least 500k or more in tax revenues to the town net of services. It is clear that this town needs commercial development desperately, and Route 2 is a prime location. What is not so clear is how much the town is willing to give up in order to do it.

Vincent
Please excuse spelling or syntax errors



On Thu, Oct 17, 2019 at 1:01 AM -0400, "JEF LARS" <[hidden email]> wrote:

Can anyone confirm or deny that the real estate tax increase RATE levied to homeowners, due to the school project, will decrease  over time?

I believe interest payments on the ~$90 million in bonds are fixed over the 30 year term. Assessed values will go up over time, so a decreasing % tax rate will suffice to service those fixed interest payments (of course the actual $$ tax stays the same). Is this logic correct?

The impact will take time to be felt, but if we assume a modest 2.5% / year increase in assessed values over the long term, that amounts to a 2x increase over 30 years. Which cuts a 15% tax hike into a 7.5% tax hike over the same duration. With these assumptions, 10 years from now the 15% hike becomes a 11.7% hike.

Erik

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 9:20 AM Sasha Golden <[hidden email]> wrote:
I'm fairly new here (5 years) -- didn't know about that. However, the document is now 10 years old -- do we know if anyone has dusted it off lately to take a hard look at it? Strategic plans aren't intended to be static.

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 9:16 AM Andy Wang <[hidden email]> wrote:
There was a 3 1/2 year effort that went into making the Comprehensive Long Range Plan  (2009).  Do you mean like that? 


It's an interesting read (document linked in description on page).

Andy




On Thu, Oct 3, 2019, 8:12 AM Sasha Golden <[hidden email]> wrote:
I think a strategic plan is an excellent idea whose time is overdue. We have any number of issues in this town which I think have some roots in a failure to relate with overall goals. What does this community want to be in 5 years? 10? 20? How do present actions connect to future goals?

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 7:30 AM Bijoy Misra <[hidden email]> wrote:
Friends,
I have not seen any strategic plan on behalf of the Town.  We seem to be event-driven and local
in our approach.  As a stable old community, a twenty or fifty year plan could be useful to create
guardrails on what should and can be done.  Since many mature and wise people exist in town,
the Board of Selectmen may institute such a vision document for the future work in town.
Demographics, economic diversity and social condition are important factors.  Each has nonlinear
effects which can only be objectively analyzed and possibly seen through into the future.
We do get lost in local solutions where issues appear piece-meal.  Good engineering needs good
planning.
Bijoy Misra

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 6:08 AM <[hidden email]> wrote:
Dennis,

I am not outraged- at least not any more.  I went through my period of outrage several years ago when I finally  realized that the town committees and boards in large part did not possess the genuine concern to ask even the simplest of questions of its citizenry regarding this issue. “How much of a percentage increase in your tax bill do you feel you can support for a school building project before you seriously question your ability or desire to remain in this town?”  This question is so fundamentally simple and could have been asked town-wide at any time from 2011-2016. But there was one teeny tiny problem -people didn’t want the answer.

There were folks who felt strongly that a new school was needed  all now and all at once- no matter the costs. There were also folks who felt strongly that the school and campus should look the way they, and not the State deemed it should look-no matter the costs. And these two groups worked well together. And now we have what we have.   How many homes are on the market now?  Do we think this issue will get better as a result of a change in tax policy?  

I send this email with great hesitation. I don’t mean at all to insult anyone who has ever volunteered for this town. But I also know that I asked at least four times for that question to be sent out - and the stares I got were shocking. I was too unfamiliar with the Lincoln Way it seemed. It eats me up inside.

Vincent
Please excuse spelling or syntax errors



On Wed, Oct 2, 2019 at 10:59 PM -0400, "Dennis Liu" <[hidden email]> wrote:

Here’s a shorter version of Sara’s note below:

 

“Let’s get together to form a committee, because committees are awesome, and governments work best when we all get together, and decide whether to increase taxes on SOME of the people in town, so as to reduce taxes for SOME of the other people in town.”  😊

 

Here are some bedrock truths, whether one likes them or not:

 

  1. Taxes have to go up to cover the very expensive school building project the town voted in favor of.
  2. We cannot at this point materially change the total amount of taxes needed to cover everything (the school building plus the other town budget items).
  3. Therefore, the only thing we can do – and the only two things that the Committee is contemplating – is to shift the tax burden among town residents, to one group that the committee/selectmen, in their wisdom, deem “should pay less”, from one group that are deemed “rich enough to afford to pay more.”

 

Oh, there is no doubt some nuance and complexity and context and color one could add to any of those three planks of truth.  But as I read the Committee’s output, those three truths are carved in stone.

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Sara Mattes <[hidden email]>
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 9:42 PM
To: Bijoy Misra <[hidden email]>
Cc: Dennis Liu <[hidden email]>; Joanna Owen Schmergel via Lincoln <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

 

Please note that there has a committee that has been meeting to discuss this-the Property Tax Study Committee.

A meeting on Oct. 15 will roll out what has been learned to date about current status na and what options the town might adopt.

Jennifer Glass recently posted information about this on LT, and the Selectman’s most recent newsletter also addressed this.

Please review materials and attend the OCt. 15 forum as a precursor tot the State of the Town discussion.

All this will lead to choices posed in a. Warrant article or Town Meeting, and a potential ballot advisory question.

 

Please take much of the alarmist posts with a grain of salt (sugar?).

Some of the calculations are just plain wrong!

There are choices and the town can be a part of a discussion as to what makes most sense for the whole.

 

Please review materials and come to both the Oct. 15 forum and the SoTT to discuss.

 

Think about who we are today, and who we want to be tomorrow.

What is “community character?”

What do we want to preserve and what are the trade-offs to do so?

 

Let’s come together to discuss and discuss as how best to advise.

 

In solidarity,

Sara Mattes

 

 

 

 

 

 



On Oct 2, 2019, at 9:20 PM, Bijoy Misra <[hidden email]> wrote:

 

Friends,

From the town meeting on the tax increase it appeared that many had already made up their

minds to leave town.  The procrastinators would potentially be homeless in a few years.

I don't know if Town has a service for people in imposed financial stress.  It would be a

good test for the town in housing and in social welfare.

Bijoy Misra

 

On Wed, Oct 2, 2019 at 7:40 PM Dennis Liu <[hidden email]> wrote:

Dear fellow Lincolnites:

 

When the new school proposal was being discussed, some folks here were Cassandras – warning that the increase in the tax rate would result in much higher property taxes.  Heck, even the *proponents* of the new school construction were agreeing that tax rates were going to go up significantly.  Several folks even sent emails around on this very point, offering calculations and calculators for residents to see what their personal property tax impact would be.

 

So if you read any of those (more than a few) warnings, should you really be “surprised” at how much your taxes went up?

 

Looking at our property tax bill today, the rate went from $14.03/$1,000 in 2019 to $15.36/$1,000 in 2020.  THAT IS A 9.5% INCREASE IN YOUR TAX RATE.

 

The median house value in Lincoln, per Zillow, is $1,084,900.  Which translates into a tax increase of $1,443 for 2020 (and at least that much each year going forward).  And, of course, because that’s the median price, half of Lincoln is looking at a tax increase of more – or much more than that.

 

But since this was heavily discussed and debated before the school vote, we shouldn’t be surprised, right?

 

Well, I don’t recall any discussion about implementing the “residential exemption” option that Jennifer Glass just sent around this afternoon, as part of the work of the Property Tax Study Committee (the “Committee”).

 

This never came up in Lincoln Talk, and – please, someone correct me if I’m wrong – this came up with the Committee only in late spring 2019, months AFTER the school vote, as part of the Committee’s Public Forum (I had to dig out that date and document).

 

One should read the summary that Jennifer provided (pasted below).  In a nutshell, the Board of Selectman can vote to INCREASE TAXES YET AGAIN, on the “rich” people in town, to benefit the “poor” people in town.  All without a town vote.  As a result of the increase in property taxes resulting for the school building vote.

 

Put another way – town residents were offered an opportunity to vote, yay or nay, on a very expensive new school project, with a tax increase calculation so that, at least, they could see how much their wallets would get hit for it.

 

Now, less than a year later, some of those same town residents are facing the possibility of being forced to pay EVEN MORE in taxes than was promised – all without a further vote by the town.  Just a simple majority vote by the Selectman.

 

Is no one else outraged by this?  Or are people simply falling in line with the promises made by certain presidential candidates – you can have free this and free that, all without paying a penny, simply because the “rich” will pay for it?  We’ll just tax “the rich”, and you will benefit, so vote for me!  (All of this without explaining how the math would work, since even seizing ALL of the wealth of the “rich”, as these candidates have called out, would not generate enough funding for their pet projects.)

 

The PDF from that June Forum that the Committee held breaks out what the proposed tax increase on the “rich” 40% would look like.  That $15.36/$1,000 rate goes up to $16.50, $17.26, $18.09 or $22.20 per $1,000, depending on what the Selectmen feel  is an appropriate amount to *redistribute* from the “rich” 40% to the “poor” 60% in Lincoln.  One should note that these proposed tax increases represent an increase in the rate of taxation of 17.6%, 23.0%, 28.9%, or a staggering  58.2% over 2019 tax rates.

 

When you voted in the town meeting on the new school building, did you think that your taxes might go up by 58.2%?

 

Do you think it’s right and fair that Lincoln could, choose to impose an ex post facto tax increase on 40% of the town?  Without another town-wide vote? 

 

Do you think that, since all of the tax increase figures were *known* prior to the school building vote, that any possibility of enacting the “residential exemption” option should have been highlighted before the school vote? 

 

Am I the only person that’s outraged that this is even on the table?

 

Vty,

 

--Dennis

 

 

From: Lincoln <[hidden email]> On Behalf Of Jennifer Glass via Lincoln
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 4:35 PM
To: LincolnTalk <[hidden email]>
Subject: [LincolnTalk] So you’ve seen your latest property tax bill...

 

Property Tax Study Committee 

Public Forum #2: Tuesday, October 15th, 7:00 - 8:30pm

Donaldson Room, Town Offices

 

Recognizing that the bond for the school project could have a disproportionately large financial impact on some Lincoln residents, the Property Tax Study Committee was appointed by the Board of Selectmen last January (https://www.lincolntown.org/1084/Property-Tax-Study-Committee). Its charge is to:

  • Understand, to the extent practicable, the scope and types of community needs.
  • Research and understand the implications of tax programs that are currently supported by state law, or are under consideration.
  • Seek input from the community to understand the appetite for such programs in the context of other town priorities.
  • Understand how private fundraising efforts could best be utilized to help those with demonstrated financial need.

The Committee has focused on two possible tax programs:

  1. Residential Exemption
  2. A local extension of the state Circuit Breaker program

Below is the article about these options that was published in the September edition of the Board of Selectmen’s newsletter. (To read the entire newsletter, click:  BOS News)

 

Please join us on October 15th to learn more, ask questions, and provide feedback!

 

Jennifer Glass, for the Committee

 

Property Tax Study Committee

<image001.png>

The Study Committee held its first public forum on June 18th. Using Lincoln’s vision statement as a framework, the Committee shared information about Lincoln’s demographics, available information about economic need, and the current utilization of existing tax abatement programs.  

The Committee also introduced two additional programs the Town could consider pursuing:

  1. Residential Exemption
    • A local option property tax exemption that is set at 0% - 35% of the Town’s average residential property value. The chosen % gets translated into a fixed amount that is deducted from every eligible residential assessment before the tax rate is applied.
    • The exemption applies only to owner-occupied properties.
    • The tax rate is then increased to make the program revenue-neutral.
    • All residential taxpayers (including owners of rental properties) pay the increased tax rate to keep the total tax levy the same; commercial properties are excluded.
    • The effect is to reduce taxes on eligible properties with valuations below a break-even point; it raises taxes on properties above the break-even point (roughly 60% of properties would be below and about 40% would be above the break-even point).
    • There are no age or income requirements.
    • May be enacted by a vote of the Selectmen; no additional approval requirements.

 

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Re: [LincolnTalk] Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

Kathryn Anagnostakis
Vin, is Lincoln snuggling real estate wise more than surrounding towns?  I am looking at houses in concord that are languishing on the market, getting reduced $300K.  Seems like people just aren't biting in the $2m range these days.  Heartily agree that 2.5% appreciation is laughable.

On Oct 17, 2019, at 9:43 AM, Vin Cannistraro via Lincoln <[hidden email]> wrote:


To clarify, my comment about changing demographics was intended to be limited to how Lincoln would change as a result of the tax increase.  Declining enrollments statewide notwithstanding, I am concerned that Lincoln is about to change from a town where folks stayed their lives to one like Sudbury where they stay for about 15 years.

Vincent
Please excuse spelling or syntax errors







On Thu, Oct 17, 2019 at 7:07 AM Vin Cannistraro via Lincoln <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi Jef,

I’m not sure if any one can confirm or deny anything relative to this issue. But I am happy to share my concerns:
There is nothing modest at all about a 2.5% appreciation per year, at least in terms of what the market is willing to pay for Lincoln homes. Based on all anecdotal evidence to date, there has been NO ONE who has purchased a home here since 1997, and gotten back what they paid for it upon resale. In cases where they did substantial work, they failed to recoup their investment.   It has been long known that Lincoln lags its neighbors and peers in housing appreciation. Yet this doesn’t seem to be a concern among town leadership.

The early evidence shows that the approval of the school project has now flooded the market with homes for sale. Particularly in the over 2M category. Yet none are selling, and prices are getting steeply discounted.  This in turn will put downward pressure on assessed values, which will in turn subsequently raise the rate, which will put more pressure on folks to sell.   

Another part of the issue I fear  is that Lincoln will, over time, turn into Sudbury.   Sudbury has the highest percentage of school aged children per capita in the state.   Families move in for the school, then move right out again once they graduate. Then another family moves in with school aged children. I love children as much as the next person. Yet they are expensive for a town with no commercial tax base. Empty nesters require virtually no services. So, I would not be surprised if the school budget must increase significantly within the next decade as a result of changing demographics, and some type of override will be required.

In my view, the town would be wise to do all they can to create a commercial district somewhere along Route 2. A mixed use development, preferably office, lab, and some retail would be able to generate at least 500k or more in tax revenues to the town net of services. It is clear that this town needs commercial development desperately, and Route 2 is a prime location. What is not so clear is how much the town is willing to give up in order to do it.

Vincent
Please excuse spelling or syntax errors




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Sincerely,
Kathryn Anagnostakis




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Re: [LincolnTalk] Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

Richard Panetta
Why would they with a potential millionaire tax getting ready to be voted on? 

On Thu, Oct 17, 2019 at 10:16 AM Kathryn Anagnostakis <[hidden email]> wrote:
Vin, is Lincoln snuggling real estate wise more than surrounding towns?  I am looking at houses in concord that are languishing on the market, getting reduced $300K.  Seems like people just aren't biting in the $2m range these days.  Heartily agree that 2.5% appreciation is laughable.

On Oct 17, 2019, at 9:43 AM, Vin Cannistraro via Lincoln <[hidden email]> wrote:


To clarify, my comment about changing demographics was intended to be limited to how Lincoln would change as a result of the tax increase.  Declining enrollments statewide notwithstanding, I am concerned that Lincoln is about to change from a town where folks stayed their lives to one like Sudbury where they stay for about 15 years.

Vincent
Please excuse spelling or syntax errors







On Thu, Oct 17, 2019 at 7:07 AM Vin Cannistraro via Lincoln <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi Jef,

I’m not sure if any one can confirm or deny anything relative to this issue. But I am happy to share my concerns:
There is nothing modest at all about a 2.5% appreciation per year, at least in terms of what the market is willing to pay for Lincoln homes. Based on all anecdotal evidence to date, there has been NO ONE who has purchased a home here since 1997, and gotten back what they paid for it upon resale. In cases where they did substantial work, they failed to recoup their investment.   It has been long known that Lincoln lags its neighbors and peers in housing appreciation. Yet this doesn’t seem to be a concern among town leadership.

The early evidence shows that the approval of the school project has now flooded the market with homes for sale. Particularly in the over 2M category. Yet none are selling, and prices are getting steeply discounted.  This in turn will put downward pressure on assessed values, which will in turn subsequently raise the rate, which will put more pressure on folks to sell.   

Another part of the issue I fear  is that Lincoln will, over time, turn into Sudbury.   Sudbury has the highest percentage of school aged children per capita in the state.   Families move in for the school, then move right out again once they graduate. Then another family moves in with school aged children. I love children as much as the next person. Yet they are expensive for a town with no commercial tax base. Empty nesters require virtually no services. So, I would not be surprised if the school budget must increase significantly within the next decade as a result of changing demographics, and some type of override will be required.

In my view, the town would be wise to do all they can to create a commercial district somewhere along Route 2. A mixed use development, preferably office, lab, and some retail would be able to generate at least 500k or more in tax revenues to the town net of services. It is clear that this town needs commercial development desperately, and Route 2 is a prime location. What is not so clear is how much the town is willing to give up in order to do it.

Vincent
Please excuse spelling or syntax errors




--

Sincerely,
Kathryn Anagnostakis



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Re: [LincolnTalk] Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

Lincoln mailing list
In reply to this post by Kathryn Anagnostakis

There are two issues:

 

  1. I believe that Lincoln has approximately 5 years of inventory in the above 2M range.  Concord is closer to 18 months by comparison.  It appears as if the school vote created a surge of inventory -though I’m sure there will be may other reasons offered.
  2. For as long as FinCom has been keeping the data, Lincoln has been last in housing appreciation vs its neighbors.  In my view, that would be “struggling”.   Or at least, begging the question as to why that would be the case.   But. Others may be less concerned/curious. My overall fear is that this dynamic will worsen as a result of the tax increase.

 

For the record, I hope I’m wrong!  I hope, for the sake of the town, that everybody who lives here loves it so much that they never want to leave. But the early indicators are contrary to this notion, and suggest that some portion of people are responding to tax increases and evaluating their options accordingly.

 

 

From: Kathryn Anagnostakis <[hidden email]>
Date: Thursday, October 17, 2019 at 10:16 AM
To: Sabra Alden <[hidden email]>
Cc: Vincent Cannistraro Personal <[hidden email]>, Lincoln Talk <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [LincolnTalk] Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

 

Vin, is Lincoln snuggling real estate wise more than surrounding towns?  I am looking at houses in concord that are languishing on the market, getting reduced $300K.  Seems like people just aren't biting in the $2m range these days.  Heartily agree that 2.5% appreciation is laughable.

 

On Oct 17, 2019, at 9:43 AM, Vin Cannistraro via Lincoln <[hidden email]> wrote:



To clarify, my comment about changing demographics was intended to be limited to how Lincoln would change as a result of the tax increase.  Declining enrollments statewide notwithstanding, I am concerned that Lincoln is about to change from a town where folks stayed their lives to one like Sudbury where they stay for about 15 years.

 

Vincent

Please excuse spelling or syntax errors



 

 

 

On Thu, Oct 17, 2019 at 7:07 AM Vin Cannistraro via Lincoln <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi Jef,

 

I’m not sure if any one can confirm or deny anything relative to this issue. But I am happy to share my concerns:

There is nothing modest at all about a 2.5% appreciation per year, at least in terms of what the market is willing to pay for Lincoln homes. Based on all anecdotal evidence to date, there has been NO ONE who has purchased a home here since 1997, and gotten back what they paid for it upon resale. In cases where they did substantial work, they failed to recoup their investment.   It has been long known that Lincoln lags its neighbors and peers in housing appreciation. Yet this doesn’t seem to be a concern among town leadership.

 

The early evidence shows that the approval of the school project has now flooded the market with homes for sale. Particularly in the over 2M category. Yet none are selling, and prices are getting steeply discounted.  This in turn will put downward pressure on assessed values, which will in turn subsequently raise the rate, which will put more pressure on folks to sell.   

 

Another part of the issue I fear  is that Lincoln will, over time, turn into Sudbury.   Sudbury has the highest percentage of school aged children per capita in the state.   Families move in for the school, then move right out again once they graduate. Then another family moves in with school aged children. I love children as much as the next person. Yet they are expensive for a town with no commercial tax base. Empty nesters require virtually no services. So, I would not be surprised if the school budget must increase significantly within the next decade as a result of changing demographics, and some type of override will be required.

 

In my view, the town would be wise to do all they can to create a commercial district somewhere along Route 2. A mixed use development, preferably office, lab, and some retail would be able to generate at least 500k or more in tax revenues to the town net of services. It is clear that this town needs commercial development desperately, and Route 2 is a prime location. What is not so clear is how much the town is willing to give up in order to do it.

 

Vincent

Please excuse spelling or syntax errors

 


 

--

 

Sincerely,

Kathryn Anagnostakis

 

 

 


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Re: [LincolnTalk] Outraged yet? Lincoln tax bills and tax relief

Andrew Payne
In reply to this post by JEF LARS

Erik wrote:

Can anyone confirm or deny that the real estate tax increase RATE levied to homeowners, due to the school project, will decrease  over time?

The only way anyone can know for sure is if they know (for sure) (a) what's going to happen with home values, and (b) what's going to happen with the non-school building town budget over time. 

I believe interest payments on the ~$90 million in bonds are fixed over the 30 year term.

That is correct.  Our annual debt service, for $80m in school bonds will be about $4.3m for the next 30 years, just like a fixed mortgage.  (Note: we do have a remaining "up to" $8m to bond, depending on what incentives/other funding we're able to find along the way, mostly for solar & energy goals).

In this year's tax bill (just delivered), about $1.95 per $1000 of your residential property tax is paying for the school.  Our current residential rate is 15.39 per 1000, so ~13% of your tax bill (this year) is paying the school "mortgage payment".  
 
Assessed values will go up over time, so a decreasing % tax rate will suffice to service those fixed interest payments (of course the actual $$ tax stays the same). Is this logic correct?

Generally, yes, IF you believe assessed values will always go up over time.  That has been the case for real estate over long periods of time, but there are cases (and Lincoln is no exception) where categories of properties come down in value over a short period. 

But the general point is true (I believe):  since the school bonds will cost the same ~$4.3m per year in 2048, as the town budget grows (at least with inflation, and don't forget our healthcare costs are rising 5-10%/year), the fraction of your bill (and tax rate) that's paying for the school bond will gradually decline over time.  

It's the same effect with a home mortgage:  if you bought (say) a $150k property 30yrs ago, your last fixed mortgage payment is (likely) a much smaller fraction of your household budget than it originally was in 1989.

Finally, while we're here, I'd like to try and clarify some general tax rate mechanics that have come up in private conversations:  

The property tax rate is not directly set by a committee or a vote.  It's calculated "after the fact" based on what residents vote at town meeting.  Each year:
  1. Add up what was appropriated by residents at town meeting
  2. Add obligations from prior years (bond payments)
  3. Subtract cases where residents have approved the use of existing funds (stabilization, free cash, etc.)
  4. Decide the ratio is between residential and commercial tax rates within rules set by the state [selectmen vote]
  5. Look at the latest assessments, and then calculate the tax rate that's authorized
So, if (say) property values go up (say) 20%, and nothing else changes, the tax rate would go down 20% but your tax bill will be unchanged.  It's NOT like a sales tax rate, where a 20% increase would mean a 20% higher budget.

I hope this is helpful.

One taxpayer's view,

-andy

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