THE KEY QUESTION
The Chatham draft spending plan for FY10 (begins July 1, ends June 30 2010) assumes everyone's property tax will go up about 5%. The Chatham Concerned Taxpayers position is that that should not happen.
Here are the numbers in brief:
FY09 $31.401 million
FY10 $32.757 million
Increase $ 1.268 million
Now, new property is coming on to the tax rolls for the first time in FY10 (new homes, additions and the like) and it's fair to add new growth like that to the base.
So the increase for all property taxpayers is about $1.02 million.
Though taxpayers get one bill for real property taxes, the spending plan is put together by the Town Manager under the elected Board of Selectmen for all the departments except the School Department. The Superintendent of Schools under the aegis of the elected School Committee constructs her spending plan.
The Finance Committee appointed by the Town Moderator will carefully review the spending plans of the Town Manager and the Superintendant of Schools and will report directly to the Town Meeting in May that has the power to accept or reject the spending plan for FY10. The Selectmen will also provide their recommendations to the Town Meeting in May.
Because of the worst financial situation since the1930s the Selectmen are devoting an unprecedented amount of time to the budget. Is such a huge increase in the budget fair to impose on the taxpayers of the town in these difficult times, who, as can be seen by the chart of spending growth (scroll down), have been quite generous in putting up the money for salaries and facilities for the town? Especially, according to recently released federal government statistics, at a time of zero inflation?