Letter: Allie urges attendance at tax hearing

To the Editor,

Sorry for the late notice. The Westfield City Council will hold a public hearing to set tax levy and percentages on residential and commercial property in Council Chambers on Tuesday, November 19th at 5 PM.

This is not convenient for working people to attend. Your Voice Matters. Please make every effort to attend or contact the Council.

Written information may be sent to the City Clerk, but if mailed must be received by at City Clerk’s Office by 5PM the day of the hearing. You may also email written information to [email protected]cityofwestfield.org by the deadline.

While exact numbers are being finalized, it appears property tax will increase 2.4%, or about 1.8 million dollars, which is an increase of $100 for the average homeowner.

The Mayor had asked city departments to level fund their budgets, but the budget presented in June increased spending by 3.7 million dollars. Revenue from new growth was only 1.2 million dollars. You do the math.

The budget failed to address the need to fix roads or the City’s growing OPEB obligations. A few years of increases of this magnitude and the City will hit the levy Ceiling, a point at which the City will not be able to raise taxes, except by override, and then only for specific items such as a new school. As it is, many working families, seniors on fixed incomes and small business owners cannot afford higher taxes.

For this reason, some city councilors voted no on the budget, or to reduce increases in spending in June with 12 members of the City Council remaining in session until 3 AM taking nearly 300 votes trying to reduce the increase by 2.2 million dollars. Councilor Bean was away on vacation, so many motions to reduce increases failed in a 6 – 6 tie, and the Council was only able to reduce the budget by $445,000.

We simply cannot spend more money for operations than we take in, or ask residents to pay more than they can afford.

Dan Allie
Westfiel City Councilor At-Large
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