A crowd of mostly senior citizens filled seats normally occupied by teenagers in the lecture hall at Newtown High School last week. Turning the tables, they came to do the lecturing to an attentive Board of Finance sitting in front of the class. The subject was property taxes and the lesson was: They’re too high! The face-off seemed inevitable after tax bills went out early last summer, reflecting dramatically higher taxes on dramatically higher assessments for three types of properties, including over-55 condominiums.
I want to thank John Kortze for having organized the Open Forum on senior property taxes on October15 and his observation that there was over 300 residents at the meeting. I believe The Bee reporter who wrote that there were about 100 people must not have not taken the time to actually count heads, as I and others did. The League of Senior Voters as a coalition was started by a number of senior residents from different communities out of frustration and after failed attempts with meetings with top town officials.
More than 100 local seniors and a handful of other residents concerned about escalating local property taxes and the role the latest town revaluation played in tax increases converged at Newtown High School Tuesday, October 15, for an informational forum hosted by the Board of Finance.
First Selectman Pat Llodra, Interim School Superintendent John Reed, Finance Director Robert Tait, Assessor Chris Kelsey, and members of the Legislative Council and Board of Education were also on hand.
Since the latest Newtown property revaluation hit home in tax bills, particularly the tax bills of local seniors, Board of Finance Chairman John Kortze has been asked to attend several meetings of loosely organized senior groups to respond to their growing concerns.
The outcome of these informal meetings is a planned senior forum that is set for 7 pm, Tuesday, October 15, at Newtown High School, presumably replacing the regular finance board meeting already scheduled that evening.
The newly formed Newtown League of Senior Voters is scheduled to meet with town officials at 7 pm on October 15th at the high school in order to bring greater awareness and discussion related to the property valuations and sharp increase in real estate taxes imposed on the senior condo owners. These 400 families will ask the town to provide an equitable tax reduction as do other neighboring towns like Redding, Easton, Trumbull etc.
My fellow taxpayers, does it seem a ridiculous question to ask why taxes cannot go down? Must taxes forever take more of what you work so hard for?
In the recent 12 months, we have experienced increasing local, state and federal taxes… with absolutely no increase in services. We have fewer students in our schools, but taxes go up? Does it seem that taxes must somehow defy the laws of supply and demand? With less demand, the price should go down… shouldn't it?