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Thread: $#*! Wayland Residents Say

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Wayland MA

    Default $#*! Wayland Residents Say

    Three recent statements by Wayland residents make claims that simply aren't supported by the facts. The first two were Annual Town Meeting comments in support of Donna Bouchard's ill-fated attempt to foist a budget advisory committee on her unaware fellow School Committee members. The third was a Wicked Local Wayland letter to the editor.

    Roger Horine
    Roger Horine's comments can be seen beginning at the 2h 18m 2s mark of the WayCAM video from the first night of Town Meeting (Thu Apr 3). I've done my best to capture his words verbatim.

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Horine
    We've long been one of the most highly taxed towns in the state and we will again compete for the dubious honor of being the most highly taxed ...
    Wayland is NOT competing to be the most highly taxed town in the commonwealth. According to Massachusetts Department of Revenue data, Wayland's average single family tax bill is 10th in Massachusetts (Wayland's tax rate is 52nd).

    Wayland is part of a 14-town peer group that the School Committee uses for comparison purposes: Acton, Belmont, Boxborough, Carlisle, Concord, Dover, Lexington, Lincoln, Needham, Sherborn, Sudbury, Wayland, Wellesley, Weston. Among this group, Wayland's average single family tax bill is 10th (tax rate is 4th).

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Horine
    ... if we approve a 10% increase largely driven by school costs. ...
    As for the 10% increase, Mr. Horine omits key context when he fails to note the recent large one-time decrease. We all knew that the decrease and increase were coupled.

    The school budget makes up on the order of 70% of the overall town budget, so it's no surprise that increases have an impact on the overall budget. However, the school budget is only increasing 6%, so it is not "largely driving" the overall increase. It's worth noting that the 6 percent increase (5.8%, actually) is made up of three pieces: mandated increases of $731,520 (2.2%), discretionary increases (1.9%), and the elementary school reconfiguration (1.8%).

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Horine
    ... We're now in a spot where Weston taxes are 36% less than ours. ... Our potential home buyers looking to buy a one million dollar home will see that they will pay more than twenty thousand dollars in taxes to Wayland [cut off by Moderator for being off topic, perhaps before stating the lower tax bill that a Weston resident would have on a similarly priced home]
    Weston's average single family tax bill is 62% HIGHER than Wayland's. To compare million dollar homes in Wayland and Weston is to compare markedly different entities, and as such, doesn't really make sense. The average home in Wayland is assessed at a bit less than $600,000, while the average home in Weston is assessed at more than 1.4M. And, while a detailed comparison would be needed to truly compare, one may be getting significantly more for one's million dollars in Wayland.

    For instance, the Wayland property at 4 Plainview Road sold for $1,050,000 on 3/28/2012. That home is a 4,539 square foot colonial built in 1994 and set on 1.0 acres. In Weston, the property at 195 Conant Road sold for $1,025,000 on 2/15/2012. That home is a substantially smaller 2,568 square foot much older colonial built in 1937 and set on a slightly smaller 0.96 acres.

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Horine
    ... We have to find ways to essentially do the work that our Finance Committee and our School Board doesn't seem to be doing
    It's not clear what work to which Mr. Horine refers, but to accuse either board of not doing its homework with no supporting evidence is irresponsible.

    Kent George
    Kent George's comments can be seen beginning at the 2h 22m 24s mark of the same Thu Apr 3 WayCAM video.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kent George
    I think that this motion is part of the frustration that comes from the planning process that never happened over the last five to ten years. We spent $300,000 to close Loker. We're now spending $500,000 to reopen it.
    I'm interested to know where Mr. George gets this $300,000 cost to close Loker. As the School Committee reported, for at least the first two years after the 2008 elementary school reconfiguration, the town SAVED $500,000 a year.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kent George
    There's no five year plan anywhere in this town.
    As Cherry Karlson noted at Town Meeting, there ARE in fact multiple long-term plans in town.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kent George
    This is part of the problem of one-year budgeting and committees that change hands.
    Mr. George should enlighten us at to how he would change municipal government to eliminate one-year budgeting and elections.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kent George
    If the School Committee had a five year plan and they showed us that this was going to happen, we could have prepared this along time ago.
    It's not clear what the "this" is to which Mr. George refers. The 2014 elementary school reconfiguration, perhaps? That's hardly relevant to Ms. Bouchard's amendment.

    In effect, the School Committee has a plan that extends far beyond five years. On the operating side, they look out as far as possible, with the understanding that we'll continue to incrementally improve. Enrollment projections extend well beyond five years. On the capital side, they look out further than five years. As is wise for any high performing school district, Wayland's long term plan is one of incremental improvement. That doesn't mean that there won't be more significant changes from time to time (the introduction of pervasive technology, for instance).

    At the time of the 2008 elementary school reconfiguration, a member of the School Committee said at Town Meeting that enrollment projections were such that space constraints wouldn't drive another change for at least three to five years. The reconfiguration just approved by Town Meeting was six years later. The enrollment projections proved true--elementary school enrollment remains lower now than it was in 2008.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kent George
    We just have to start to think about how we're doing things rather than lurch from year to year and make changes and go back and find out frankly, I have to vote for the School Committee budget because I think we're forced into what the problems are at Happy Hollow are absolutely terrible and we're being forced into this vote.
    I understand that the spoke word isn't always as crisp as its written counterpart. This sentence, however, is a train wreck that makes no sense either all together OR in pieces. The vote in question was on Ms. Bouchard's amendment to create a School Budget Advisory Committee, not on the overall school budget. Conditions at Happy Hollow--irrelevant to Ms. Bouchard's amendment--are most certainly not "absolutely terrible." As for the school budget as a whole, Mr. George couldn't be more wrong. Any resident may propose at Town Meeting a budget cut of any size. At this year's Annual Town Meeting, a resident did just that, proposing to reduce the budget by the cost of the elementary school reconfiguration. I wonder what Mr. George's opinion of that proposed cut was and overall how much he would like to cut?

    Steve Glovsky
    In an Apr 12 Wicked Local Wayland letter to the editor, besides curiously throwing The Villa under the bus, Steve Glovsky writes the following.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Glovsky
    For years, Iíve been troubled by disproportionately high taxes in Wayland.
    Taxes in Wayland are not disproportionately high. In fact, if anything, they are slightly disproportionately low. As noted above, Wayland's average single family tax bill ranks 10th among its 14 town peer group (and our school per pupil expenditures rank 5th among our 10 peer districts). Wayland's median household income, on the other hand, ranks 8th.

    I'm certainly not arguing for more taxes than we need. And I appreciate that any town is made up of residents with a broad range of incomes--taxes that some can bear easily will be a hardship for others. But to call our taxes "disproportionately high" is to ignore the facts.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006


    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    Steve Glovsky
    In an Apr 12 Wicked Local Wayland letter to the editor, besides curiously throwing The Villa under the bus,
    Not to mention his lovely wife Susan.

    I am not sure why he chose this strange comparison but he must be as unfamiliar with the actual tax situation and cause in Wayland as he is with the $5 burger night on Mondays at Prime 131.


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