When the Majority Is Convenient

Here in Tiverton, there’s some growing grumbles about the latest property revaluation, which appears to have shifted the weight of the tax burden toward those with waterfront property. Our situation appears mild (so far) in comparison with Barrington’s. Nonetheless, the phrase “class warfare” has been uttered, here and there, which is why a sentiment expressed by Barrington Town Council member Kate Weymouth raises a red flag:

“The majority of residents in this town are satisfied with their assessments and I am elected by the majority.”

Not knowing Ms. Weymouth’s history, I wouldn’t apply this to her, but the thought occurs that public officials are keen to be the voice of the voiceless, when that suits their preferences, or the voice of the majority, when their inclinations are in sync.

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12 years ago

I don’t understand the uproar in some towns over the re-valuations. The value of your house is nearly irrelevant. If my house goes from being valued at $250k to $500k, but they change the tax per thousand from $14 to $7, what do I care? Maybe Barrington isn’t going to change the tax amount, and that’s the big problem, but any time we’ve had a re-valuation in my town, people get all worked up over their values before even seeing the tax rate. The bottom line is the town knows how much money they need, they know the valuations and set the tax rate accordingly.
However if you have two 1,000 foot ranches on 1/4 acre, equally distant from the water in similar neighborhoods and one is valued $100,000 more than the other, I can see why some people might get upset. But to just get upset simply over the value, doesn’t make much sense to me.

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