STAMFORD, CONN - The Stamford Daily Voice accepts signed letters to the editor. Send letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is an open letter to the new Stamford Mayor.
Dear Mr. David Martin,
I would like to use this opportunity to contact you and congratulate you to become our new Mayor. I also wish you healthy and successful year of 2014.
As you know very well, being one of the members of the Stamford Board of Finance, before you became our Mayor, the majority of Stamford property owners were much disappointed by the tremendous, unprecedented increase of 2014 property taxes that reached over 42 percent for residents of Shippan area; at the same time the property taxes for residents of other areas went down to over 25 percent(?!).
On July 29, 2013 the Board of Finance invited the property owners to their meeting. You, Mr. Mayor, should remember this meeting and its very nervous atmosphere. There were over 200 angry property owners and more than 30 speakers (including myself) who energetically spoke about this ridiculous decision based on "excellent" effort made by two Boards: Assessors and Finance.
At that meeting we learned that only 30% of all Stamford real estate has been physically assessed, the assessed value of other 70% was determined by who knows how.
In our condo building on 1 Valley Road, with 10 one-bedroom and 10 two-bedroom (townhouse) units, for those 5 years only one one-bedroom unit was sold. How could the assessors determine value of any of two-bedroom units?
As a result of their great performance, our 2-bedroom unit dropped in value on 21.25 percent, but with the artificial "Mill Rate" that increased only on 34.4 percent, the total 2014 tax was increased on 10.83 percent.
It is not a matter of absolute property tax increase; we are talking about extreme unfairness to approach to general assessment and taxation.
This Board should request from all Stamford taxpayers to provide a summary of the household's Federal Tax Returns that could help the Board to impose much more correct tax on property, based on their taxable income.
Mr. Mayor, you as member of the Board of Finance, know for sure that no more than 8 percent of taxable income can be paid for property tax. I know several people who have very low income, but paid tremendous tax, over 15% of their income.
On Dec. 30 everybody received a tax bill for the second half of 2014, due before Feb. 1. I expected to see your letter as newly elected Mayor, with some warm words and promises to clean this tax mishap in 2015, but, it was not in any letter from you.
Please remember, there is no time for celebration. Please don't plan any big projects the city of Stamford cannot afford financially, just do basic things for your residents. And please don't even think raising property taxes in 2015. Try your best to reduce taxes people overpaid in 2014.
We are going to pay our bill close to Feb 1st. Since we cannot attach any letter to our bill, this email will serve as our attachment, and we will make a note in your copy:
Here it is: our 2013 property tax was $4,948.20 (I.D. #15224). Our calculated 2014 tax bill (per Mayor M.Pavia statement) will be: 4.948.20 x 1.0341 = $5,170. Tax we paid for the 1st half of 2014 was $2,742. The remaining balance for the 2nd half of 2014 is: 5,170 - 2,742 = $ 2,428. (i.e. $314 lower than one shown in the bill).
We'll do it with all our full responsibility for this action.
By the way, our family is in the top 3 percent of all Americans by our financial credentials. For our almost 33 years in this country we have never paid any finance charges for mortgages, credit cards and other financial documents.
Therefore, before considering your possible fine for "so-called" underpaying, please think and think again. I would be more than happy to meet with you or with members of your staff to discuss this very important issue. Please respond at your earliest convenience.
Leonid Kremer, P.E. (72.5 years old, retiree)