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Owner: High Tax Rate Hurting Small Businesses in Dedham

Selectmen vow to work closer with small business owners moving forward.

Dedham tax assessors and selectmen met with local small business owners Tuesday morning to discuss how the tax rates are set and to begin a dialogue with local business owners.

Director of Assessing John Duffy said in the beginning of the meeting that the assessors “do not raise or lower taxes,” they could only make recommendations to the selectmen and grant exceptions.

But the abatement period to challenge assessments sent out in January expired in February.

“We have no problem with making adjustments in your favor,” he said.

The most common reasons for abatements include inaccurate age of building, square footage, vacant rental space, renovation, errors in transcription of data from paper to computer, or building’s construction material.

Property taxes account for 78 percent of the town’s revenue, Town Administrator William Keegan said.

However, with the adoption of a local meals and hotel tax, Dedham is open to alternative means to generate revenue, said selectman Sarah MacDonald. Other means include searching for appropriate grants and cost-savings through reducing energy consumption.

But the tax rate is still hurting small business owners.

Russell Stamm, who owns an accounting business on Bryant Street, said commercial taxes have increased 40 percent in the past four years.

“It’s crippling for a small business,” he said.

Stamm suggested splitting the commercial tax rate between big and small business, but Keegan said the town couldn’t do that and would require special legislation.

Besides a raising tax rate, selectman Paul Reynolds, who also is co-owner of The Blue Bunny in Dedham Square, said that Legacy Place has dropped his business to 40 percent of what it was.

“The eco-system has changed,” he said.

Reynolds suggested the formation of a committee that would help communication between local government and business owners.

Paul Cocci, a local landlord, said he believes that the town’s spending is out of hand, and if it is reigned in, costs will come down.

“The town has to do something with their spending,” he said.

But any cut in spending means a cut in services and programs, MacDonald said.

russ poole May 25, 2011 at 05:14 PM
now that the square circle lobby has succeded in its quest to renovate the square (at tax payer expence) it will be interesting to note the ''financial improvement'' in local business once the project is completed. Paul Cocci commented, as many others have also, spending is ''controlled'' by town meeting based upon recommendations by the FinCom. Take a look at the biggest cost of town government - personnel services. Paul Reynolds comments ''business at the Blue Bunny has dropped to 40% of what it was'' as a result of Legacy Place. The only business up there that I can think of is Borders. A business that is near backrupcy, has closed a majority of it's stores. Why - Amazon, Kindle, etc. If it weren't for LP I doubt there would have been $6.1 Million for the square project!
steve January 03, 2012 at 12:24 AM
Why do taxes go up on residents in dedham so much our house values are way down so why don't our taxes go down what do we get as residents that is so special,nothing. I could careless about dedham square but we all know we will pay for that. I have lived here my whole life,and never have I been more embarrassed about our town it is going way down hill from what it once was.
gone January 04, 2012 at 02:16 AM
taxes just went up over a dollar what do i get extra? why is our taxes so much higher than norwoods,westwoods,walpoles,cantons? how could they go up with the new legacy place? wheres the tax relief? we pay more and get less..the thing i dont get is where is all the outrage from the residents. this cost me a extra 350 a year to live in a town that has sold out to developers and contractors. this town is the next hyde park, give it 5 -10 years. this is what happens when a few people run the town
gone January 04, 2012 at 02:21 AM
legacy place is going to crush the businesses in dedham square,so that 6 million most likely was a waste of money.
BOB KEESHAN January 05, 2012 at 05:03 PM
A boondoggle in the making ? Might not this money ($ 6.1M) have been better spent ? With more pressing and urgent problems to address, in time, residents of Dedham will surely come to regret this project ....

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