Terra Friedrichs

& her local work in
Acton, Massachusetts

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Taxes keep our town services running! Where would we be without schools, without roads? these are town services!

My position on taxes is simple. I want to have excellent schools and town services AND I want Acton to be affordable. My main goal is "sustainability". Sustainability has three components: fiscal, social, and environmental. If we are not affordable, then we are not sustainable. If we're not socially equitable, then we're not sustainable.

As a professional strategic planner, with a Masters in Finance (and a background in business!) I have the skills to plan for this fiscal sustainability.

To this end, I'll post my answer to Allen Nitschelm's question...

Allen: Do you feel that Acton's property tax burden, projected to exceed $11,000 per year on average next year (according to the Town Meeting warrant) is too high, too low, or just about right?

Terra: My main goal is “sustainability”. Sustainability means not only environmental and social sustainability, but fiscal sustainability. With that, I think taxation must be affordable if we are to preserve a middle class. Taxation today in Acton is high. That does not mean it is wrong, but we must recognize that it is higher than neighboring communities and difficult for may in town to pay. In the end, we trust our public servants to get the bang for the buck we need in services.

I played a lead role organizing the Green Advisory Board, which today is leveraging grants from the state to reduce power and materials costs.

I was the first Selectman to push to increase the Senior Tax Relief program by orders of magnitude. While I was Selectman, the budget for the Senior Tax Relief program increased almost 3 fold. Currently, if you are paying more than 10% of your income to property taxes, and you are over 65, it’s quite likely you will get a discount, perhaps up to 50% of your taxes. Not everyone qualifies.

The value of homes in Acton have stagnated. This is a golden opportunity to restrict growth, and benefit from the increase in property values, which in turn help us in terms of affording to invest in our town. However, I also want to ensure that we are doing “our share” of ensuring that basic housing is available to all. Preventing unnecessary Chapter 40B building can come in the form of making money while also meeting our social obligation. To do this, we have to consense upon solutions that are holistic, and focus on “value”...and “Net Present Value”. We have to decide whether we want to keep allowing developers to "take" the value from our town, or if we want to save that value and spend it on public necessity housing.

The bottom line is that if we are to survive as an independent town AND be sustainably fiscalling, environmentally, and socially, we must plan land use and stop unnecessary building.

For those who can not afford the taxes because of cash shortage issues, I am all in favor of tax relief for long term property owners.

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For more information about how I feel about "fiscal responsibility" of public officials, please click this link.

If I did not answer your question fully enough or if you have more questions, please contact me: VoteForTerra@gmail.com 978 808 7173

Thank you! Please vote for Terra!
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