Tax Burden & Broken Promises

by Frank Gentile

I have been a resident of Kent for approximately 5 years now, I purchased an older home on route 52 that over looks the lake and up until last year I split my time between taking care of my elderly parents at their Stamford CT home and enjoying the peace and quiet of Kent. As me and my spouse try to make this a year round home and reign in expenses (we are both suffering still from the economic disaster of the IT career world having both been downsized in one way or another) it finally sunk in how expensive it truly is to live in Kent. For a tiny house with under 1800 square feet and not even 1/4th of an acre we are paying nearly 14% more then my parents who own a house with 2 acres and have 500 more square feet, again they live in Stamford CT and their house is valued at nearly 3 times the one I am trying to make a home in here.

Then I read Bill Tulipane’s letter posted some time before he was elected as Town Supervisor and I have to wonder what has changed since then? I think it is amusing how he complained about taxes being high and offered a very good example (hell I would have voted for him if I was a full time resident then) but then does nothing. Bill, you were right on the point you made in your letter but it is sad that no headway has been made on Tax relief. Why is that?

I don’t see any changes and the Taxes on both the Town and School side of things have gone up consistently. The appraisals have gone up consistently and I don’t see how that can be right since my former neighbor has yet to sell his home which was valued at $325,000 and is still on the market going on 8 months now.

You better bet I will challenge any increase in the assessment of my home this year. I will challenge it because I know there are homes just sitting on the market next to mine and I believe my taxes are insanely high.

What I can say is that all this lack of tax relief and general lack of communication with the residents is actually motivating me to run for office. I might not be a lawyer or have years of political experience but years from now when I can run for town council I just might because my only goal would be to find a way to offer tax relief to all residents. If I was elected and realized I had no way to reduce the tax burden (and that was one of my campaign points) I would at least let the town know I was powerless to affect change. I would let them know why I could not add value to the situation.

Lack of communication on this issue leads me to believe the leadership (yes even Bill) is unwilling to ease the tax burden.

This community deserves more then empty promises, with the mean family income hovering around $70,000 I doubt many residents can afford the current tax rate. Do our elected officials expect them to get part time jobs to pay for the tax bill? Why should hard working residents have to get part time jobs to pay for the taxes here? If they have lived in their homes for years and could afford it why should they have to suffer now? Is it their fault they are not earning 6 figure incomes? Expanding on that point why I believe that even the wealthiest of the town residents are suffering since they pay even more property taxes!

I love living here so much that I gladly put up with a 104 mile round trip commute to get to and back from work. I manage an Information Technology Department and usually put in close to 60 hours a week at the office. Right now I’m struggling to make the tax payments and at the same time save for retirement since pensions and social security cannot be counted on. While I love living here I also refuse to be made a fool of by our elected town leadership who seemingly refuse to do anything to resolve the tax problem.

So I ask these simple questions to our elected town leadership: What do you plan to do to lower taxes? What goals do you have in order to bolster business tax revenue?

If the current tax situation continues I predict that this community will fall apart during the next 5 years. The tax base will evaporate as the sale price of homes falls on a flooded market and you run into assessment challenge after assessment challenge at town hall. This community is on the path to destruction in my opinion; tax relief is needed now on both the Town and School side.


Frank Gentile

649 Route 52


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Sunday, October 16, 2005