, Salem, MA

February 23, 2013

Letter: Residents should educate themselves for budget season

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

Free cash and tax relief. Get your attention?

Town budget talks and meetings are under way now. If you’re concerned your property taxes have continued to go up, you are NOT alone. Recent information shows the taxes continuing to go up while property values have dropped down.

Ipswich real estate taxes, for example, were $4,462 in 2007. For 2013, they are $5,697. Value down 20 percent, taxes up 27 percent. Relate that to your income. Has it gone up 27 percent while your equity dropped 20 percent?

Go another step. You are paying in real estate taxes dollars equal or more than your monthly take-home pay.

Free cash! What is that? When the budget is discussed, “free cash” is part of the conversation. Want some free cash? Try understanding at budget meetings so when you go to the ball of confusion called Town Meeting you might possibly understand what you’re voting for. You are more likely to vote another tax increase. If you don’t care, just send more money to the town to spend without your knowledge. If you do care and want to know where your money is going, try paying attention. Ask your selectmen — that’s why you voted for them — to watch the spending of your money. You, the residents, are the ultimate watchdogs. If you show you don’t care, why should they?

Become familiar with words like free cash and OPEB. Try your favorite search engine or go to and use their glossary.

Get educated. It’s your money.

Phil Goguen