To: Hamilton Finance Committee,

We understand that the Hamilton Finance Committee is proposing a Senior Tax Abatement program to be placed on the 2009 Annual Town Meeting warrant.  We also understand that the initial year of the program would require a proposed $250,000 funding override.   What an OUTRAGE !!

Previous to the 2008 Town Meeting Mr. William Dery had already, by citizens’ petition, proposed a tax relief plan for seniors.  Mr. Dery’s proposal failed at Town Meeting, however, because voters claimed that they had insufficient information and insufficient time to fully understand the proposal.

Following Mr. Dery’s presentation and its subsequent defeat he was courageously commended by a well–known and esteemed Hamilton resident for his time and effort spent.  However, this resident emphatically charged the Board of Selectmen with spending the following year to craft an acceptable and workable Senior Tax Abatement plan for presentation at the 2009 Town Meeting to provide tax relief for senior citizens.  Crafting an acceptable and workable plan does not mean simply proposing yet another override!  This override proposal is unacceptable and is simply Designed To Fail on the Town Meeting floor.

Under the current economic conditions and our high $15.23/$1000 tax rate this proposed override would only add to the burden of those very taxpayers who are least able to afford our taxes as they now stand.  We do not believe that an override is what this prominent woman’s charge to the Selectmen was intended to accomplish.  This proposed override would also burden low and middle income young families with children, who are already struggling to make ends meet under our overwhelming tax burden.

The cost of this proposed Senior Tax Abatement program must be met by cutting and controlling the costs of our Regional School District .  The end result of these endless annual tax overrides would mean that increasingly more homeowners would be forced to default on their real estate tax payments.  This would even further reduce the town’s revenue stream, which would further shift the tax burden onto an increasingly smaller group of already overburdened taxpayers.  Without an across–the–board reduction in municipal and school district spending our town seems to be on an ever–accelerating downward spiral towards bankruptcy.

The Board of Selectmen and the Finance Committee have had an entire year to fulfill this sincere and influential woman’s charge to the Selectmen.  Is this proposed override the only solution you can find?  The easiest solution to any problem is not always the best.  At the Selectmen’s meeting on 2/09/09 State Representative Brad Hill spoke of time being of the essence in terms of successful passage of the Senior Tax Abatement by-law by the Legislature.  Thus the time to move forward on this by–law is NOW!  Proposing a Senior Tax Abatement by–law this year that, we feel, you know is going to fail on the Town Meeting floor due to an override request is a waste of a year’s time!

Craft a proposal, not an override!!

Arthur J. Towne

Jean L. Towne

20 Savoy Road

Hamilton, MA 01982