8 thoughts on “LETTER: CPA Would Improve Quality of Life, Home Values in Watertown

  1. OK there are several points that need addressing Ms. Clark.

    Thank you for pointing out that businesses will pay this surtax. Business , if people don’t know already, pay a higher property tax rate. That of course isn’t unreasonable in an of itself. But it means that since they have significantly higher property taxes. That means that their surtax won’t just be couple lattes a month. It therefore follows, the CPA will have an impact on the prices we pay at neighborhood store. These higher prices will be paid for the most part by people who are already paying higher taxes or rents. And again… this tax increase will be passed on to tenants, who even if they are of low-income, won’t be able to apply for an exemption.

    The option a business has instead of raising prices, is to cut costs. So that could mean employees not getting raise or worse have their hours or other benefits reduced.

    Therefore the CPA is an extremely regressive tax.

    Now let’s talk about impact on people’s personal budgets. Let’s use your figures of approximately $120 a year — Well, for those who can afford to go Starbucks, it might not be a big deal. But some families spend $120 a week on groceries and they can barely afford it. So these people should be expected not eat one week per year, so special interests can have slush fund to play with!

    Next bit of nonsense…. The branch libraries. They weren’t shut down and aren’t being sold because they needed restoration. They were shut down because the cost of keeping them open, including payroll, normal maintenance, and utilities (none of which is related to CPA money) didn’t warrant keeping them open, because of there weren’t enough people using them. Especially since the Town had just built a brand new world class modern library at the main location. But like everything else, you and other CPA advocates just toss out vague musings without knowing the details or offering specific details about the cost of projects. In fact you haven’t said in any instance … we will definitely take on this project and this is what we estimate the cost and time table. You just throw “stuff” against the wall and hope something sticks.

    Since wisely and resoundingly rejecting the CPA in 2005, Watertown taxpayers saved millions of dollars. Thank God, special interest groups didn’t have that kind of money to waste.

    If the bike path was such a need, please tell us in detail what fundraising efforts did those who would use it, undertake. Did anyone contact local businesses to ask for donations in exchange a sign stating they’d contributed along the bike path. Did anyone think of contacting of contacting local Bicycle shops, Starting with Farina Cycles in Watertown and asking them participate. There are also bigger sports and fitness related businesses that would be interested in helping the community, and perhaps reaping the benefits of plague or sign for their contribution. There are scores of ways that the private sector can help with fundraising for particular projects. But that would take time and effort on the part of individuals and interest groups that want a particular project. Heaven forbid, people earn something they want. I guess you folks are just feel entitled to have other hardworking, often struggling to get by taxpayers, to fund you wish list on NON – NEEDS !

    NEXT !!

    Low Income homeowners will pay nothing. Well we already covered the fact that low income renters aren’t exempt… But in theory low income homeowners are — with a big “IF”…. If they are willing to fill out lengthy paperwork and disclose their highly personal financial information to Town Hall Employees. We’re not talking about giving this information to some company or large government agency, where some nameless
    and faceless bureaucrat you don’t know, who knows none of your friends, will review it. We’re talking telling your sensitive personal business to local town hall employees. So even if you are aware you can get the exemption, you need to be willing to submit to financial colonoscopy at the hands of someone who may will know you and more than likely knows your friend, or worse YOUR ENEMIES!

    But this detail, like all other details, don’t concern you or other CPA advocates. You want people to trust you with $2.2 million annually, give you the ability to put the town further in debt by issuing bonds for needless projects and you’ll give us the details later.

  2. We (WSS) respectfully disagree with CPA supporters. The timing is wrong. We have stood out on the corners of Watertown and have spoken to many parents and the average taxpayer and they are overwhelmingly with us. For us, “Schools First” is more than just a slogan, it’s a moral obligation and the right thing to do.

    We are happy to discuss the issue with anyone and you can reach us via our Watertown Strong Schools Facebook page, via email at watertownstrongschools@gmail.com, or on our website at http://www.watertownstrongschools.com. You can find our position statement on Question #5 here http://www.watertownstrongschools.com/blog/fund-schools-first-vote-no-on-the-cpa, answers to questions about our statement in written form here http://www.watertownstrongschools.com/blog/wss-answers-questions-about-our-position-on-question-5 or via our video https://youtu.be/7rOQGsSUun0. If you’d like to sign up for a yard sign, please follow this link https://goo.gl/forms/vQMG3eUGn3I9mHD92

  3. I object to the tone of some of the screed written by Mr. DiMascio and others against the CPA ballot question. It seems that Mr. DiMascio and a few others have very little argument aside from scare tactics and impugning the character of their neighbors. I have been on the fence on this issue, but if this represents the best argument against, then I am certain to vote “for”.

    I am not–believe me–against making a strong argument. But when it comes to disrespecting other residents of Watertown as if there were certain legitimate residents and others who are not, I am disgusted. Mr. DiMascio’s patronizing rant above is typical of what I am speaking about. The tone of his last paragraph demeans decent, intelligent and well meaning neighbors of his and leads me to believe that perhaps he obtained a degree in political science from Trump University. Our political discourse has been cheapened enough on the national level, let’s not extend it to Watertown.

  4. Mr Levendusky, The anger is not one sided by any means. There are CPA Proponents on record who have said in no uncertain terms that the Watertown Strong Schools group can kiss support for an override goodbye for simply stating they disagree with the timing of this initiative. How is that not a scare tactic?? All the huffing an puffing from both sides aside, the facts are the facts, and it appears to me the CPA folks don’t have any facts on their side. To deny we have a school problem, or that we can afford both, is just not the case and there is ample evidence to the contrary. CPA proponents plough on, ignoring the Watertown Housing Stock numbers that tell a different story as well as letters to town councilors begging them not to support this. Also, no mention that FY 2017 increases that will amount to a 6-8% for many. They can’t deny that and, what’s worse, they won’t even acknowledge it either. That would make any rational person upset. Take a look at these facts. How do we go tell these folks they can afford to pay an extra anything? We have no idea what their household budget is, other then that a disproportionate % of their income is already going to rent/mortgage, and they make too much for an exemption. The dirty little secret to all of this is that renters are under the impression this won’t effect them-boilerplate leases have Escalation Clauses. If they signed a one year lease and this passes, it gets passed right along onto them, legally, the very next month.

    WatertownHousing Production Plan/Funding provided by the Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program and the Commonwealth of Massachagement/ Page 23..section D….
     Housing cost burden is a significant issue in Watertown. 45% of owners and 35% of
    renters are cost burdened (spend more than 30% of gross income on housing costs),
    and 16% of owners and 15% of renters are severely cost burdened (spend more than
    50% of gross income on housing costs)
    file:///C:/Users/John/Downloads/Watertown_HPP_January_2014_201402251231408672.pdf John Labadini President Concerned Watertown Homeowners Asscoaiation

    • I disagree with you John. At least on this page, there has been a distinct note of hostility and malice coming from the “no” side. Dividing Watertown will not help in the long run. I am extremely disappointed.

      Mr. Ovoian, there are also common sense arguments on the other side. There needs to be more open minded discussion on this subject and this issues surrounding it. But some choose to see the world in black and white. The town is at a critical juncture and while you are not guilty, some folks have made their arguments by demeaning their neighbors. There are points to be considered on both sides and everyone needs to consider this in its complexity, not shout simple answers.

      • The people shouting out simple or rather substance lacking answers are the CPA proponents. They’ve yet to itemize the specific projects that will spend the money on; let alone providing a pro-forma of the projected costs, time frames, and impacts on the neighborhoods.

        We get absolutely no details from that side.

      • I understand your frustration Mr Levendusky. You may not have seen it here, but it certainly exists, and the vitriol on FB and other sites is also concerning. I’m not saying two wrongs make a right. What I am saying is there are indeed some carefully worded, veiled and not so veiled threats, from some very vocal, self avowed, well known progressives in town on the vote yes side too. Take a look at this snippet, from another website, openly suggesting they won’t support a group called “Watertown Strong Schools”. Their crime-Having the audacity to not oppose the CPA, per sey, but to oppose it this election, because of the looming school override This Mr Levendusly, this is shameful Please, take a look for yourself and I quote; “I’m sorry to say that the WSS leadership seems to have been snookered which puts both the CPA and a bond override in jeopardy as it will make many CPA supporters less inclined to help WSS win a vote for an override” What does that say about the vote yes side? There’s more-“I urge the leadership of WSS and (redacted name) to reconsider their ill considered opposition, take down their signs, and join forces to get both these initiatives passed for the good of the whole community” These folks are happy to celebrate the fact they’re hell bent on having “both” You know what happens with this short sighted line of thinking? First and foremost-kids suffer. For me, and many others, current and future students should come first.

  5. It is obvious that as we are get closer and closer to election day the folks on both sides of this issue are turning up the heat trying to tell their sides of this ballot question. I have no scare tactics just common sense. I will also state that I do not deny that I am against the CPA, and for three major reasons which follow.
    First, we are going to need an override for our schools in the very near future. Many of the CPA supporters will not admit to this including some of our town and state politicians, and their denial infuriates me. Do they think that the dollars for school remodeling will come via a money tree?
    Second: It is very expensive for owners and renters to live in this town and another new tax will not help this situation. Especially when some owners just received a 8-16% increase to their house taxes, will face another good sized increase next year, and now the CPA wants another 2%, and we are not sure WHEN a tax override will be coming?
    Many folks are living week to week and more taxes do not help.
    Three: While some low income owners MAY qualify for an exemption (if they are willing to provide sensitive financial information to the town. No renters have such a safety valve. If the owner raises the taxes because of this new tax (and not all of us charge the going rental rates) the renter must either pay up or leave. I think that the renters are the ones who will be hurt the most, followed by everyone else living week to week.

    So, please vote NO ON QUESTION 5 (on the back of the ballot)

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