14 thoughts on “LETTER: Tax Increase from CPA Could Drive Elderly Woman Out of Watertown

  1. This is an example of what I have been saying about for months now. The supporters of the CPA TAX either can’t grasp, or do not care about the plight of many of our residents if the CPA passes. This will hit many of our renters, young homeowners with children, and others in negative ways that the CPA supporters do not want to admit.

  2. John, the 2% increase from the CPA will not be a leading factor in raising rents. Watertown landlords are raising rents not because they are recouping costs, but rather because the market will allow them to. Many rents have gone up far more than 10% in recent years because of demand and because Watertown has become a haven for many who cannot afford the even higher rents in Cambridge, Belmont and Newton. People are looking to live in Watertown who would not have ten years ago.

    I agree and am very concerned that high rents create an affordability problem, but I have come to realize that passing the CPA will not be a factor in most tenant’s rent increases. The market is the main factor. But scotching the CPA is not a solution.

    • Joseph, The person who wrote the article says otherwise. Now, You may or may not be correct for rents on some of the non owner occupied homes, I do not know any of those owners so I cannot comment. For owner occupied 2 family homes I believe that you are completely wrong. I say this because I am an owner of a two family home and I do not charge anywhere near what the market price is, and I know many more like myself who are happy with their tenants and therefore do not want to force them out by charging market prices. I do not know why so many CPA supporters use that line about “charging market prices” but it is nonsense (see, I did not call them liars). However; with the very large tax increase I just received and another 2% increase if the CPA passes I along with many of my friends will be raising rents as we cannot continue to subsidize our tenants with these increased and new taxes as we need to take care of ourselves as well. But I know that I will still not be charging the market price! Please ask some owners that occupy an apartment in their homes if they are charging market prices? If they say yes, see if they will tell you what they are charging. I think that you will be surprised.

  3. My goodness peopel here what the want. This no vote is about this schools too. Let’s say its 150 a year for 5 years. In year two we go ask the residents for another 150 or so and they vote it down. Then rents will certainly increase when supply meets demand and taxes keep going up. This is pilling on! You know why? Because the available pool of tenants changes dramatically when families looking elsewhere. Landlords, who will no longer have a choice between a family of 4 for 2500 a month will rent to 4 college students for 3000. Rome burns while Nero plays the fiddle!

  4. Joe, as the owner/resident of a two-family let me tell you that is simply not true. I know many folks who have not raised rents on their tenants despite constant increases in taxes and maintenance costs. As a do-it yourselfer for as much as I can do – it’s tough. Trades people raise their rates and many of us eat it as we have good tenants and are trying to hold the rent line. Ask your landlord about taxes, insurance, and increased maintenance/ repair rates. It will be eye-opening.

    • Elodia, that may reflect your experience, but it does not reflect mine. In fact, I went looking at various properties before negotiating on my rent.

      I am glad to know that you have tried to keep rents low, I am sure your tenants appreciate it, but I am not sure that is indicative of the majority of situations out there.

      • As I said earlier many o four owners of 2 family homes do not seek market rents because we have tenants that we do not want to lose, and there are many of us. Some folks get market rents but not everyone, and that is what the supporters of the CPA keep saying. Also, new homeowners need to get market rates because they paid a large price tag for their homes, but again it is not everyone. We can easily kill this argument if everyone stops saying that all rents are market based, because that is a falsehood.

        • John, I am happy that you are reasonable with your tenants. The world needs more folks who feel as you do. But to claim that the majority of rents in town are not set by the market would be a stretch. I think that your case and others like it are happy exceptions to the general rule.

          • Joseph,
            Many people do not charge market based rents because they are nice people, it is economics. We live in our homes and we want tenants that respect our property and that we can share our yards with. I once had a tenant that was not very nice and I had to force them out! I would rather charge less and be happy in my home than get a higher rent and live net to a jerk. Again, Ask those that you know that own two family homes and many of them will tell you the same. I do not claim to know how many apartments in two family homes are at the market rate and I do not think that you do either. So, I guess that we will have to agree to disagree on what & of homes are at market price.
            But, I do standby my belief that an increase in taxes will drive an increase in rents.

  5. Yes, the market is always the leading factor in the price of anything and everything. However, underlying costs also always factors. If the Market doesn’t allow the increase at the time of increased expenses, which does happen, then the landlord will find ways of cutting expenses. That often means letting routine repairs go until the very last minute and so forth. But either way, the CPA will play a role in the lives of tenants.

  6. Dear Friends & Neighbors,

    After reading this article please read Councilor Angie Kounelis’s letter regarding the CPA. Check out the link she provided regarding tax increases for 2017 and then please think about the impact of this permanent 2% surcharge tax. Much has been written about the pros and cons on http://www.watertownmanews.com and http://www.watertownstrongschools.com.

    As many of you know, I believe that our schools must be addressed first. For those that contend this is way down the road, please attend the Steering Committee meeting tomorrow night at the Phillips School @ 7:00pm, 3rd floor, Innovation Lab where SMMA will be presenting the Master Planning Facilities report. The school needs are pressing and tangible. Funding will involve some combo of capital improvement monies, a debt exclusion, and perhaps MA State Building Authority (MSBA) funding.

    The CPA can be taken up again in any election year by a simple majority vote of the Town Council. Before this would take place, I think it would behoove proponents to have a series of community-wide discussions i.e., in all four districts to learn more about ALL the residents of Watertown. With approximately 45% of homeowners and 35% of renters housing cost burdened (paying more than 30% of income for housing costs) we need to be sensitive to the socio-economic issues in our community. I think some folks are out of touch with the financial realities people are coping with given our shaky economy, rising healthcare costs, personal family concerns, and the long lasting impact of tax fatigue.

    For all too many Watertown residents, the CPA is a luxury tax they can not afford. Should they give up making a contribution to their church, their child’s school, helping out a parent, or putting some money into a rainy day account?

    For those of you who have both the means and the personal interest, please contribute money to these particular CPA causes as there are tax deductible opportunities to do so.

    As always, I am happy to discuss these issues with you or anyone else who might have questions or concerns.

    Warm regards,



    Watertown News – Your Source for Local…

  7. Yes, I will commit to voting for an override for the schools but I am against the CPA as it only serves 3 special interests groups mostly for nice to have things (which the town is already working on), while the schools serves all of the towns children. It is a matter of priority!

  8. I also am wondering about the fact that some people opposed to the CPA has to do with their stance on controlling proposed renovations of Victory Field due to the fact they live so close to it. They do realize that it is used as a sports facility for the HS.

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