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Amesbury, MA

Amesbury taxes in top 20 percent

Excessive taxes in Amesbury are nothing new. Neither were Mayor Kezer's comments for "Amesbury taxes in top 20 percent," Sept 2. Roger Benson presented no surprise acknowledging Amesbury's "serious " tax problem. Yet, Amesbury's councilor repeatedly voted against the fiscal restraint the last council tried to implement while supporting the mayor's spending measures. Benson's council has given Kezer everything he's asked for like overspending the full 2008 budget, his hefty raise and the council's too. The Sept. 2 article was based on 2008 budgets and omitted the comparative imbalance. For example, Amesbury's average tax bill is $100 higher than Newburyport's on property worth $142,000 less, and $2,000 higher than Salisbury on property valued $11,000 less than Salisbury's average value. Currently, the 2009 budget is being spent and in January we'll get the bill. The new contracts, raises, employees, vehicles, etc. this administration approved is now the spending baseline. This budget exceeds 2008's by $2,000,000-plus, meaning Amesbury's average tax bill will increase over $300. There's more. Benson reaffirmed his council will roll back the split tax. While all taxes will reflect the increased budget, residential taxes will include whatever the commercial/industr ial class no longer pays. Add your underpayment for July-December. Yikes! Most of Amesbury's undisciplined spending began roughly eight years ago and the 2009 budget just might bump Amesbury into the top 5 percent of state taxes. Nonetheless, this council is telling us they will need an override. Can your salaries, pensions or Social Security keep up? The eminent domain episode proved the administration's disregard for your rights. It's now clear, we're just a giant piggy bank.  (Sep 11, 2008 | post #1)