20 Aug 2014
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Let me see if I can make sense of these numbers from the 2015 Budget Meeting

   Good evening friends. I attended the FinCom Town Budget meeting today. As the only Selectman candidate in attendance I have to say this meeting was interesting. Bill Keegan spoke on behalf of the Town. He negotiated a new lower bid for trash collection. Waste Management will replace Russell in May and the Town saved $253,000 per year on this deal. He also stated the Debt Exclusion was reduced by $850,000. This decrease came from the SMA Brothers purchase money finally being paid and the East Street Phase two also being paid. Our Towns biggest budget is the schools. The school department requested a 2.8% increase. Our Town gave them a 2.2% bump. This is a $740,000 addition to our school budget which puts it over 34.3 million. Part of the reason for this bump is the increased number of students attending Norfolk Agricultural School and Blue Hills Vocational School. I have no issue with the schools getting more money.
    Mr. Keegan continued on to municipal staff and their contract Park Department employees and teachers currently have one. Firemen and Police do not have one. Negotiations are on going. He also mentioned the creation of a new HR Office something I personally think was long overdue in our town. As a person who does Human Resources as a career it is an essential function and very much needed. He also said he would be adding a position at the Endicott Estate as with the amount of business they are getting has made them self sustaining. He said that in all 78% of FY'15 budget will be property tax which is down 4% from last year which is eye opening but then announces taxes will increase again by anywhere between 1.9% and 2.8% and that this should make residents happy. Well as one resident who is one of the 9,609 of you single family home owners in town that has suffered through 67% worth of increases I wasn't smiling and I didn't see this as a breath of fresh air. I saw it as business as usual. Well business as usual needs to change.
    Lets start with this number 9,609 single family homes. The average home value in Dedham is $375,000 and the rate per $1,000 of value is 16.08. If you take this 16.08 and you multiply this by 375 this gives you an average property tax amount of $6,030. Now if you take that amount and multiply that by the number of single family residences which is 9609. You get $57,942,270.00. In FY 2014 property tax collected was estimated at $79,962,270.00. I find it very hard to believe that with Legacy Place, Dedham Mall, Dedham Plaza, Costco, Best Buy, BJ's, The Holiday Inn, The Hilton and the giant apartment/condo complex by legacy place and those are only some of the bigger ones all of those that aren't dwellings are commercial property paying the commercial rate of about $35 per $1,000 of value equal roughly only $22 million dollars. Especially when Legacy alone contributes nearly $900,000 worth of Tax every fiscal year. There is something not right here. I personally think we need reform in the assessors office and we need to look at this very closely. Commercial property and rental and condo properties can't account for only 22 million dollars.
    After today I was compelled to delve further. I looked at the 2014 budget. One line item I found very interesting. This line item is under the operating budget and it's called Facilities Operation & Maintenance. In FY 2012 this item was budgeted at 873,000. In FY'13 it grew to 4.5 million and FY'14 it grew to 4.8 Million. I don't think we gave any of the municipal buildings a major face lift lately so unless this is part of the ESCO energy conservation project, but I can't see that equipment costing that kind of money. The bottom like is these numbers can't be right. There has to be more than $22 million in additional property tax coming in. I am going to propose a residential exemption for our home owners if elected to the Board. We all deserve it. Business as usual on Bryant Street needs to end. We need to look more closely at our budget, we need to see where we can make adjustments that can allow us to do an exemption that not only gives something back to our citizens, but also forces us to do a more responsible budget.
    If elected to the Board I plan on making this priority number 1. I will do whatever I can to ensure we work together to be the best Dedham we can be. Please fee

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