• Taxes or heat
    February 11,2014

    Taxes or heat

    As I look around this city that I love I wonder: How much longer will we be able to afford living here? How long will it be before the tax increases the residents of Montpelier continue voting to support make living in this city a choice between paying our taxes or heating our home? We already live at 60 degrees in the winter months and don multiple layers to keep the chill at bay.

    I look at my neighbors who have already reached this place — the older folks who are retired on fixed incomes and the younger couples with college loans and high mortgage payments. Their choices are different, but no less difficult. Montpelier is becoming shabby as owners defer maintenance and upkeep to pay their ever-increasing tax bills.

    My partner and I don’t have much of a lifestyle. We work hard and live simply. But, honestly, we just don’t know where the money will come from to pay for the 13.9 percent increase in our taxes if this year’s school budget is ratified. The increase of $187 per $100,000 of home value will boost our overall tax bill to over $6,000 per year. To quote Bing Crosby, this is “somewhere between ouch and boing.” We’d put our home on the market, but our Realtor doesn’t think it will sell as buyers probably wouldn’t qualify for affordable mortgages due to Montpelier’s high tax rate. Rock and a hard place.

    Are we the only folks in town facing this dilemma? I doubt it. So, here’s my question: When did it become unpatriotic to expect elected officials to be accountable for how they spend our money? And, when did not voting for a school budget become a vote against quality education?

    Roberta Tracy


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