10 thoughts on “LETTER: Resident Urges Watertown to Vote for the Community Preservation Act

  1. Janet,

    Let’s not forget some other pesky facts and give voters an opportunity to make an educated vote. Residents ask yourselves the following; did you buy or sell a home? If the answer is no you have not paid a penny into the CPA fund. Period. We aren’t “leaving money on ANY table. This starts and stops with money coming OFF the table, in the form of a 2% tax increase on the people who can least afford it. The dollar amount may sound small but for many it isn’t. 40% of Watertown homeowners and renters are considered mortgage or rent poor meaning over 30% of their hard earned dollars goes to rent/mortgage payments. That’s about 5000 homes that may not have an extra 150 + Dollars. Janet, I would be happy to introduce you to families that have come to me with their leases in hand, asking me in broken English if their rent will increase. They will, as the dirty little secret the yes folks leave out here is that most leases have escalation clauses in them that state the landlord can raise rent if taxes go up. Fact is about 5000 homes are paying over 30% of their paycheck in rent. You go tell them they can afford a few hundred bucks more…while the schools consider renting modular classroom to handle the overcrowding… (For the record, I don’t have any children either)

    There are 351 cities or towns in our Commonwealth. Less than half have this tax. The cities around us that have the CPA tax have much higher average incomes and open space. What open space do we have?? They also already have great schools as well. We don’t and that tax will be next as most people know. This is backwards. The schools should come first. If you’re a renter, check your lease for escalation clauses too. This tax can probably be passed on to you as well.

    If you want All the facts on CPA and why it isn’t a fit for our Approx 4.2 miles email at johnlabadini@yahoo.com. We will gladly help you get all the information you need to make an educated decision.

    John Labadini
    Watertown Resident

    • John,
      Let’s not forget that the matching funds are really a Ponzi Scheme. We said so in 2005 when we defeated this dribble and we’ve been proven right over and over again. The matching funds diminish as the real estate and re-financing market slows and as more communities are stupid enough to buy into this pyramid.

      Now we have an added twist. If Boston should pass the CPA then they automatically get 1/2 of the matching funds available, leaving the municipalities the other half to split. So if say the match was going to be 25%, it will be 12.5% instead.

      Let’s also not forget the lack of transparency and accountability involved in the administration of what will wind up being a slush fund for special interests. A board made up of special interest representatives will decide what projects and what politically connected vendors will get the funds. The Town Council will only be able to vote up or down. And given the current make up, the Council will simply serve as rubber stamp for wasteful spending and possibly the accumulation of further debt based on forecast CPA surtax revenues. Should the Council approve the issuance of bonds for these wasteful spending projects, we’ll be stuck with the surtax until the bonds are paid off, usually in 20 years.

      In short this is nothing but a scam for special interests and must defeated. Further the Councilors and politicians who support it, should be voted out of office at the soonest opportunity.

  2. I don’t believe people who pay rent will pay this tax, and more than 55% of Watertown Property is rental now. Those affected would only be the property owners, and whether absentee or homesteaded, those property owners can afford a small increase for the huge benefit that will come to the town in the form of added funds to improve town property, purchase open space for the town, and many other improvements that will make the quality of life here better for all who live here. Small price to pay for the kinds of improvements we would all enjoy. And landlords, you tenants will probably help you pay for this, since you will, no doubt, add a little to the rent they pay you.

    In my opinion, since the town claims it hasn’t had the money (or the will, apparently) to provide upkeep or improvements to many town-owned properties this is something the we need in order to have a way to invest in amenities and improvements and conservation of community property.

  3. Rena,
    As a “renter” in Watertown who understands the reasons for rental prices, taxes, water… etc.., it would be expected to have an increase in rent due to the CPA tax. No landlord should be expected to shoulder the added financial burden without passing it on. Our parks and recreation people do a fine job of keeping our parks clean and as up to date as possible. The CPA was a joke in 2005 and I see no changes in that regard

  4. Make no mistake, the CPA is just another TAX. For all those that think we don’t pay enough taxes in Watertown then this is apparently a good idea. However, according to the Town of Watertown Official Revenue Forecast, ”Real Estate and Personal Property taxes are increased 2.5% per year. New growth is projected to be $2,500,000 for FY 2017, $2,250,000 for FY 2018 and $2,000,000 for FY 2019.”
    The CPA tax would add an additional $2,000,000 tax revenue to our annual budget but ONLY for three special interest groups. The money can’t be spent to solve our overcrowded school problem, will not help build a new highschool which we have needed for years and does not make Watertown more affordable for the average Watertown homeowner. This is a matter of priorities. Buying Walker’s Pond in West Watertown doesn’t excite me half as much as building a new highschool. I just can not support the CPA TAX INCREASE and will VOTE NO on Question 5!

  5. “those property owners can afford a small increase for the huge benefit”

    And there you have it. As a homeowner and resident of a 2 family (who wouldnt be able to afford Watertown otherwise), I find Ms Baskins comment ridiculous. In what world does the rent not go up when the taxes do? Also, who are you to tell me what I can and cant afford?

    If you want money for parks or historical projects, do what folks have done for hundreds of years and raise it from within the community, not by law.

    In addition, this is a 4 square mile heavily overcrowded town. There is no need for establishing a permanent tax for ‘greenspace’ projects.

    Please folks, dont be foolish enough to vote for a permanent tax increase that greatly restricts how it can be spent on the eve of the multi million dollar school crisis.

  6. Most of the comments and letters I have seen here miss the point entirely. The appropriate question is why is the town not receiving more benefit from the developers who are currently building billions of dollars worth of projects in Watertown. They are mining enormous profits in Watertown, and most care little for the community they are building in. They will be leaving us intractable problems like increased traffic congestion that will need to be solved on our dime. It would only be fair for them to fund the revitalization of Watertown’s schools and preservation of green space. But the town has asked far to little in terms of community benefits, and we, the residents, will get the short end of the deal.

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