Continuing to build is destruction, not expansion

Published 8:53 am Wednesday, June 13, 2012

To the Editor:

I recently read that city taxes are going up 18.2 percent to offset lower assessments due to an 8.9 percent decrease in property values.

Assessments include homes, rentals, and foreclosed on and vacant properties. This does not look good for current or potential citizens. It limits homeowners’ options to sell, and rental property owners will most likely have to increase their rent to compensate for the tax hike.

Property values are not stable for anyone in Franklin and haven’t been for the 12-plus years I have lived here. My home is in the historic district, and unfortunately no matter how much money I put into it, it will never be of value due to the fact that 70 percent of the homes surrounding my home are rental properties or vacant.

This is a result of poor city management.

Franklin’s citizens should take a look at who has a hold on these rental properties. Many of the properties are owned by friends of friends in the political arena, or those who are in the political arena. So whose noses are they really cutting off?

There was a hidden message in the article (“City eyes 18 percent tax hike,” May 15) that states “but Martin expects values to decrease more as residents begin to challenge the reassessment firm’s figures,” which is subliminally telling citizens not to challenge the city’s tax hike.

So then why not challenge them to increase values by creating stability in the community with honest paying taxpayers, new jobs through tourism and other industries, reducing the number of rental and vacant properties, and revitalizing the historic district to cash in on the $13.1 billion tourism industry ( so we are not thinning our services, budget, or pockets.

With that, our city will not “lower rates unless there is a significant change,” and Councilman Don Blythe’s statement, “It all goes back to good management, and we haven’t been doing that,” comes to mind.

Yet the city still continues to build residential and commercial properties rather than promote what they’ve got. According to the Franklin/Southampton Futures Group, continuing to build is not expansion, but destruction, and is catching up with Franklin.

Jennifer Bernocco