Letter: Select Board needs ‘serious change’ 

December 15, 2023

Recent decisions by the Select Board (SB) demonstrate the need for serious change in that body. 

First, is the decision to “shift” coming tax increases to “those who can afford it.” Several of us at the meeting suggested pausing the decision until facts were clear and options considered: 

  • Using home value to determine who can pay “more” is a blunt instrument vs. a needs-based process. Home values have skyrocketed, but homes don’t produce cash and incomes haven’t kept pace. Will folks need to sell their home to pay taxes? 
  • Concord already shifts taxes to high-value homes via simple math: higher value X tax rate = higher taxes. The town also applies “multipliers” so homes in pricier neighborhoods pay 1.35X (e.g., Concord Center) or even 2X (e.g., Nashawtuc Rd). 
  • The discussion showed the facts are not understood. “Calculations” by Mary Hartman of the SB to show “minimal” renter impact ended up being underestimated by 10X. 
  • Does anyone believe SB suggestions that the “tax shift” can be potentially eliminated next year? 
  • Spending beyond our means and later figuring out how to pay is a fool’s game. Passing this “shift” only eases the pain of future reckless spending. 

Many who voted for the middle-school increase (and who sit on the SB …) will likely benefit from this tax shift. Is that equitable? 

Second is the decision to remove historical signs around town despite no evidence the signs are inaccurate. A reasonable move would have been to pause removal until facts can be collected and considered. Instead, the SB fabricated a “maintenance” excuse to remove the signs. Cowardly. Only SB Chair Dane objected. 

Concord deserves fiscal responsibility and decisions based on facts and balance, not bad assumptions, ignorance of consequences and politics. It’s time for serious change. 

Joe Laurin 

Southfield Road