To the editor:
Andover Finance Committee member Gregory Serrao is to be thanked for being the Finance Committee member who, like the small boy in the Hans Christian Andersen tale “The Emperor’s New Clothes” who has courage to speak the truth to the emperor while all the adults around him cower, has stated for the record that the town of Andover has reached “unsustainable spending levels.”
And Andover resident Mike Roli is to be thanked as well for best summing up the impact of town’s profligate spending habits on town residents by speaking out at that same meeting regarding the skyrocketing property tax increases we’ve experienced: “It’s staggering the amount of tax increases we are getting. People can’t afford this.”
Sadly, Town Manager Buzz Stapczynski, as always, sees property tax increases as an entitlement for funding of ever-expanding town operating budgets and bottomless project wish lists. He even has the audacity to blame Andover’s mammoth property tax increases during his tenure as town manager on, “the value of your house.”
As Stapczynski well knows, it’s the amount of town spending, not property values, that determine property taxes. Property values are merely an algebraic mechanism by which the total amount of town spending gets allocated to each of us to pay in the form of our respective property tax bills. If all property values in town dropped by 50 percent, our property taxes would would not change by one red cent. In fact, we had the worst of both worlds during the recent Great Recession where property values in Andover, like everywhere else in the country, dropped while, at the very same time, Andover’s town budgets still went up. Son-of-a-gun, our property tax bills went up during each year of the recession even while our property values were dropping! So much for Stapczynski trying to blame our skyrocketing property tax bills on something other than the town’s big-spending ways.
Here’s hoping that the chairman of our Board of Selectmen, Alex Vispoli, who has announced his plans to run for Barry Finegold’s seat in the state Senate on a platform of cutting state taxes, will show all of us that he can cut spending and cut property taxes right here in Andover first, before setting his sights on Beacon Hill, and get the selectmen to vote no on any proposed town budget that will increase the property tax burden even further. Enough is enough!