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@Rob Allen

@Rob Allen First off thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I think the residential tax exemption proposed by my opponent Dan O'Neil is a great idea. As a primary care physician and former social worker for the Commonwealth I have particular insight into the struggles faced by some our most disadvantaged families. However I would point out that based on the requirements this brilliant idea will not provide relief to the majority of Dedham's families, some of whom struggle to make ends meet. It is pretty obvious that we have a problem with residential taxes in Dedham. Dedham's taxes are disproportionately high as compared to other demographically similar towns in spite of an abundance of commercial real estate. Something is not adding up. Rather than shoot arrows in the dark and making the problem worse, I hope to practice politics like I practice medicine: based on evidence and information. If elected I would propose an independent commission composed of interested citizens with expertise in financial matters to analyze why our taxes are so high. We need to know scientifically the exact reasons we got to this point before we attempt to relieve it. Otherwise we run the risk of worsening matters for Dedham ' citizens. Please write with any questions and thanks again for your feedback!

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Rob Allen February 25, 2014 at 11:24 AM
Thanks for taking the time to reply. I appreciate the response. I don't want to come off as confrontational, but would like to treat this more as dialogue. In regards to your statement that 'based on the requirements this brilliant idea will not provide relief to the majority of Dedham's families, some of whom struggle to make ends meet' I would disagree. While it might not be a panacea, it will definitely help families. Anytime you reduce how much people HAVE to pay, that means they have more money in their pockets for other things such as heat, food, etc. So while this will not be the end all be all solution, it definitely is a start. I agree that for the size of the town, it's facilities and demographics to similar towns, we are paying a lot on par. If we are paying taxes similar to well-to-do towns such as Dover, Wellesley, Lexington etc, our schools and infrastructure should be comparable. But it's not. So something is wrong. I appreciate the analytical approach you state that you want to incorporate, but when I hear "independent commission" I take that as code word for stall or delay. The other candidate has already stated that if anything was to be done along the lines of a residential exemption, that wouldn't necessarily kick in til 2016 at best. If I hear "commission", which I take to hear "stall", that means the idea of residential exemption/tax break is even further away. If that's the case, I'll be out of Dedham by then. I bought a home in Dedham because I found a home I liked in an area I liked. I invested in my home via renovations because I want a nice home for my family. I also believe that the act of renovating/improving your home adds to a neighborhood. Be it by it's visual appeal or value. I didn't buy a home in Dedham and invest in it, so that I can pay an endless amount of fees followed by more taxes (that seem to go into a mysterious black box). I will only see that value if I sell. So if that's the case, then I'll sell now. You also state that you wanted this commission to be "interested citizens with expertise in financial matters". I'm sure there are those in the community with financial expertise, but there are companies/auditors that do this for a living. So if we are taking that approach, let's hire professionals to do it. Any problem can be analyzed within 90-120 days, not years. If anyone says it's too complicated and will require longer, that is BS. So if you are elected and do take this approach, I would like there be criteria for this commission and there be time frames set for this commission. I would also like to see what the town's revenue intake is via taxes, parking, etc. And what the expenses are for the town. A true balance sheet. If that already exists, then great.If we are pouring money into X (such as a school) and yet the results are marginal or the same, then something is definitely wrong. While I understand some of our buildings are antiquated by other town standards, I would also like to remind the town that the world has somehow mysteriously kept spinning and Dedham has been able survive. So if we do need to renovate/replace buildings, we don't need palaces/state of the art facilities. We need serviceable facilities.I don't want us caught up with keeping up to the Jones' or trying to out do another town.
Dennis James Teehan February 26, 2014 at 01:07 PM
I don't disagree with anything you state. Whether done professionally or not, we need some sort of analysis so that we can make sure we have best chance of improving situation. I would certainly explore options to finance a professional study including presenting an article to town meeting this year if needs be. I agree and would expect to have answers in a reasonable time frame. The only thing is I believe the residential exemption has pretty stringent standards to qualify for, and I don't think most Dedham households would qualify. I would like to make interventions that provide relief to all. Thanks again!

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