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What Should Be the City of Melrose's Top Priority in 2013?

Let us know by posting a comment in the comments section below.

With 2012 in the books, we want to know: What should be the city of Melrose's top priority in 2013?

Let us know by posting a comment in the comments section below.

cheryl harrison January 03, 2013 at 12:46 AM
fill in all the potholes
Patrick Hardy January 03, 2013 at 12:43 PM
The Melrose Highlands business district needs a complete facelift To bring it back on par with the rest of the city.
Erin D January 03, 2013 at 05:21 PM
Improving the quality of the schools, particularly the middle and high school.
Gretylu January 04, 2013 at 07:00 AM
To actually educate the kids in special education in the Middle and High school and not just pass them along or send them off to SEEM Collabrative and make it their problem to fix!!!!
KGV January 04, 2013 at 04:47 PM
Getting Highlands area ready for WholeFoods. Need new traffic lights with turn signals at Franklin, for instance. Also, draw new stores in that area to create it as a destination.
Patrick Hardy January 05, 2013 at 12:39 AM
A great point. Completely agreed.
Percy January 05, 2013 at 04:25 PM
Greater forthrightness about the scale of tax and fee increases over the past decade. My property tax bill on my condo (converted from a 2-family in 2003, nothing fancy) has gone up 50% (from just under $2,400 to just over $3,200) in absolute terms over since FY 2007, while the value has not gone up (during this period, in fact, it went down of course, and the new valuation has it where it was for the FY 2007 assessment). In a period of little gross inflation (yes, inflation of fuel commodities and health insurance, and some food items, otherwise deflation for many things). I realize this is due to the override, but what was not explained at the time was the scale of the cumulative effect of the override, illustrating how it would work over the life of the override. Then pair with water/sewer bills, and you see something even greater in magnitude. Our city officials need to be much more forthright in regularly (not just once a year in December) acknowledging - SPECIFICALLY, not in general blather - how city residents have experienced this dramatic increase in expenses and what it's doing to our city. And I would very much appreciate journalist who don't SETTLE for general blather once a year, but press for particular, specific engagement many times a year. Local journalists are notorious for going along to get along, to retain whatever little access they get. It's a recipe for Groundhog Day, of a bad kind.
Kurt LaBeuter January 06, 2013 at 05:45 AM
Re: taxes. The city raises its levy 2.5% every year, as does 95% of municipalities in the Commonwealth, which is currently about the rate of inflation. You have the right each year to file for an abatement. It sounds as if you have not done this very basic step, or otherwise investigated. This, of course, makes a big assumption: your numbers are accurate, of which I am skeptical. Melrose is not perfect, but its fiscal management through the financial crisis and recession has been, quite frankly, spectacular. Travel around to other municipalities, or states, for that matter.
Percy January 06, 2013 at 06:01 PM
Kurt Because of the override, the city raises its levy by more than 2.5% annually. My numbers are accurate; I keep a spreadsheet, and an abatement was refused. My condo was valued at 247K in FY'07, now again it's at that valuation (after having dropped to 234K in the last 2 FYs: condo valuations in the city are notoriously difficult as there are few comparables, so the assessor's office will tell you if you apply for an abatement....) My tax increase this year in absolute terms was 7.56% (just because you get a greater-than-average increase does NOT qualify for an abatement). For several years in the past, the city's AVERAGE % increase was in the 4% range year over year.
Kurt LaBeuter January 07, 2013 at 02:42 AM
OK. Maybe I need some re-education on the 2.5 levy increase plus debt exclusion figures and to that your point about transparency is on target. But the levy rises every year and the fact that property values may fall in a given year does not change that. The new, higher levy is just apportioned out annually among among the total taxable property in the city. No one complained when their tax rate fell precipitously from 1998-2006 when property values skyrocketed. The Mass. local property tax system is extremely stable in this regard, thanks to Prop 2.5. If it calms you, 2400 to 3200 is 33% not 50%.
Dave Gray January 07, 2013 at 04:52 AM
Don't confuse the annual tax levy with the tax rate, which is more a result of (or maybe response to is a better way to say it) whatever the assessed valuations are.
Percy January 07, 2013 at 09:45 AM
Yes, That was an error on my part.

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