Council Will Discuss Tax Exemption Increase

Council President Matt Frank said this week that he would like to have a discussion at the Council about trying to combat what looks to be a significant increase in property taxes this year.

He said he would like to see if the Council can or would want to institute a temporary increase in the owner-occupied residential tax exemption.

“We’ve all seen the numbers and they’re significantly higher than last year,” he said. “In the past I haven’t been supportive of doing this, but I am anticipating a big spike in tax bills this year and I want to discuss a way of trimming that back for homeowners. I don’t know that I’d want a permanent increase, but I see an overwhelming need to at least discuss it for this year.”

City Manager Jay Ash recently shared that homeowners – except condo owners – should be prepared for a “double digit” tax increase this year – a situation buoyed up by increasing property values. Traditionally, Chelsea’s tax bill increases have been very modest and some of the smallest total property tax bills in the area.

This year things have changed a bit, though.

Already, some councillors, such as Giovanni Recupero, have signaled and interest in talking and doing something about the coming increase.

Frank, however, said he hasn’t discussed the idea with every councillor just yet, and he hopes to do that at a meeting in the near future.

On Nov. 10, the Council will hold a public hearing to take the final steps in setting the tax rate.

At that time, residents and taxpayers will be invited to participate in a public hearing with City Manager Jay Ash about the tax increase and the reasons for it. After that discussion, the Council is expected to act.

One of the three actions that will have to be taken that night will be an approval of the owner-occupied residential tax exemption program. It’s at that time that the Council will have to make a decision on whether to increase the exemption or leave it alone.

“We need to do everything we can to help the homeowners here and to keep Chelsea affordable,” said Frank. “We want people to stay in their homes and we don’t want to give them a reason to sell.”

2 comments for “Council Will Discuss Tax Exemption Increase

  1. Gordon501
    November 2, 2014 at 11:44 am

    Increasing the exemption misses the point of why taxes are increasing so fast. City spending has grown at more than 3 times the rate of inflation over the past 10 years, this is why taxes have gone up so fast. The way to correct this problem is to reverse this excessive spending and cut the budget. My taxes have gone up over 60% just since 2010 which is completely unacceptable. As a resident and taxpayer I feel that I have not received anything for this massive tax increase; city streets are in terrible condition and Chelsea remains one of the most dangerous places in the state for crime. The city should adopt zero based budgeting; under this model each department must justify each dollar of their budget each year rather than just adjusting the prior year budget which builds in the waste and fraud in that budget. If the city council really does represent the best interests of their constituents they will stop and reverse these massive spending increases. Any councilor that does not work to cut the budget should be voted out of office.

  2. Melissa Stockbridge
    November 4, 2014 at 10:32 am

    We should take into consideration that many homeowners in Chelsea (including condo owners) have been underwater on their mortgages for some time now…due to the very low property values. I am fortunate enough to not be one of those folks, however, property value increases in Chelsea are a VERY GOOD THING. That said, property value increases typically mean higher taxes. Unless, of course, you have a very large business tax base which can sometimes offset your residential tax rate…like in Cambridge. Or a very low number of services provided to the residents. I for one, don’t wish to give up the few services I receive.

    So the efforts by Mr. Ash of attracting more business into Chelsea is one that the residential taxpayers in Chelsea should eventually see in their tax bills. But it will take awhile…

    Chelsea has not received this type of community attention and business building for so long it is important to realize that this process of changing the city is a long-term project which requires perseverance and patience from the residents of this city.

    I do however, see the possible value in a zero-based budgeting process provided it takes into consideration the city’s need for aggressive improvement in all facets of of the community.

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