In response to a recent letter suggesting that the residential exemption “is not equitable”:
1. All town residents who own their home will benefit from claiming the exemption because no matter what the value, about $138,000 will not be taxed (a saving of about $1,800 at a tax rate of $13 per thousand);
2. Eligibility is not based on the value of the home if you own it, live in it and file an application;
3. Even if, as a result of the plan, the total amount of your tax goes up because of the slightly higher tax rate applied to the amount in excess of the exemption, it will go up less (by about $1,800) under the exemption.
Therefore, everyone should apply, and the sooner the better.
It is true that we are using this provision for a different purpose than most communities that have adopted it, but it is, nevertheless, an effective way to shift some of the burden of the $110 million middle school bond to those who can better afford it.
Although the exemption, like most tax provisions, is a relatively blunt instrument, it is no less fair than the graduated income tax, which is likewise based on the assumption that those who have more are better able to bear the cost of building schools and providing other essential services.
We see this as one small way in which we can help maintain whatever little economic diversity remains in our town.
Based on publicly available information, my own tax bill will go up by about $600.
Henry J. Dane
Chair, Select Board