To the editor:
From what I hear at the Amesbury finance committee meetings, provided you are one of the investors, you are happy! However, when you are a taxpayer who does not buy Amesbury's tax-exempt securities, also exempt from local personal property tax, one might jeopardize his home in paying the long-term principal and interest of each tax-exempt issue, as local rates and burdens rise, demonstrating to the bond market, policy makers can raise revenue and user rates, despite local dislocation to assist paying the debt service.
Over the last 15 years, the Amesbury municipal corporation issued nearly $200 million in tax-exempt financing for various building projects as the tax rate rises to top 10 status. It must be as a result of new options in 401ks, who knows; I don't! Nonetheless, tax receivables rise, as do tax titles and foreclosures, despite the efforts of the federal level policy makers to turn around the economy. Local rainmakers continue to transfer wealth from the marketplace to city hall and to the vendor list. Let us see the vendor list!
My efforts to reduce the revenue raised by taxation through enterprisations of ambulance, youth activities and harbormaster allowed by law, the unearmarked use of overlay surplus specifically for levy reduction, can't say too much about free cash — they used it this past year, perhaps the altering of the stabilization fund's purpose to reduce the levy, better budgeting and less contrived free cash will help, increasing the residential factor from 100 to 105 will help shrink residential tax bills (Haverhill is at 150), less reliance on short-term financing, creating better cash flow via better budgeting, rather than higher taxation, user rates and fees reducing tax titles, keep people from leaving that cause values to fall, heightening student achievement ratings versus the competitors, to name a few alternatives affecting positive expense reduction, the apostles of the bond market and their legacy create another financing vehicle, a new DPW facility for $8 million, $10 million with interest plus annual budget enhancement expenses of $800,000.
In a February Daily News article on page 2 relative to Salisbury's $10-plus tax rate, Amesbury's $19.13 and Boxford's $15-plus, the chart using the average which is very sympathetic to Amesbury's plight; but when computed against the impact on a real $100,000, $200,000 to $500,000 in value, you realize our tax bill will be $400-plus on $100,000, $800 on $200,000 and $2,000 on $500,000 versus Boxford. On Salisbury, it is $900 more on $100,000, $1,800 on $200,000 and $4,500 or so on $500,000.
A late annual audit, a reformatted executive annual report with omitted background data, an automatic increase the user rate hearing format, over $500,000 water enterprise free cash, high receivables climbing in correlation with the tax rate, $200 million issued in investment tax-exempt happiness since 1996, resulting in a top 10 statewide residential tax rate, etc. Are you happy? I'm not!