Dear Billy T and Somerville Speakup Line,
I attended the meeting last night to discuss the transfer tax by the Board of Aldermen.
There will be another meeting tomorrow, Wednesday, 4/11, for the board to discuss amendments.
As that information becomes available, I will pass it along, so please check back about meeting dates and times.
There was a low turn out of constituents last night.
Here are the highlights taken from the meeting of 4/9 at 6:00 p.m., at city hall:
Alderman at Large, MaryJo Rossetti asked board members to consider having more discussion and public forums.
Residents who have emailed her would like to continue an ongoing dialogue about the transfer tax at public forums.
She also reminded the board that many constituents were not notified about the public hearing taking place on Wednesday, April 4, 2018 and residents would like to remain engaged in the process.
Although, board members agreed this was a good idea, they also shared their concern about the issue of not meeting the transfer tax deadline to the legislators by the end of April 2018.
Board members agreed they were swamped with hundreds of emails from constituents – those opposed and those in favor. Some board members said they have a much deeper understanding of how any news of tax increase effects long time residents and said they were unaware of their hardships.
Some board members also agree it was not a good idea to rush the transfer tax.
One comment stood out for me by Alderman Hirsch who is considered the data guru of the board and cited:
“72 % of Somerville’s real estate is owned by investors”.
There was no other details provided, but I’m guessing that means anyone who is not homeowner occupied and considered to be the owner of investment property.
But we should definitely ask Alderman Hirsch for more data on this finding.
There is a video of this meeting on the City of Somerville website. I encourage you to watch it for more details.
Also Billy, Katjiana got back to me about meetings this week—
Tomorrow, Wednesday 4/11 is a public meeting to discuss the transfer tax not more public speaking only board discussion.
Thursday night is regular BOA meeting, there may be more discussion when Legislative Matter Committee report is read. After Wednesday, details might change.
Judy Locchi Jacobs