Sudbury Senior Tax Relief Bill Signed by Gov. Patrick

If approved on Election Day, the bill would be the first of its kind in Massachusetts.

Gov. Deval Patrick today signed the proposed Sudbury senior property tax relief program, which aims to help elderly homeowners with lower income by moving their property tax responsibilities to residents with higher income, today.

"This should allow Sudbury to put this matter to a vote on Election Day in November," State Rep. Tom Conroy said in an email.

The bill includes recommended changes from a task force assembled by town officials. There were concerns with the legislation's previous version, including adding an opt-out program should it be a burden to see through.

Seniors will be required to file for the exemption every year.

The system would be a first in Massachusetts. Lawmakers have shown support for the system and want to see if it could serve as a model for other towns.

Voters will still need to approve the bill during a regular or special town election before it can take affect.

"Many hands, minds, and voices in Sudbury helped shape this bill and push it through the approval process at the State House. All involved – Ralph Tyler, Dave Levington, Larry O’Brien, Susan Iuliano, Jack Ryan, Maureen Valente, Andrea Terkelsen, and others – deserve praise and thanks for their efforts," Conroy said. 

Passed by Sudbury voters as a home-rule petition, the bill, which sat in legislature for more than a year, was amended and sent out by the Joint Committee on Revenue in March.

The bill aims to provide a tax break of up to half the total property tax bill for eligible longtime senior residents who are struggling to stay in town. The responsibility will be spread proportionately to the remainder of the town. Homeowners would see an average bill increase in the range of $50 to $100.

"This new law, if approved by Sudbury voters in November, should provide significant financial relief to seniors who want to continue to live in Sudbury, which ultimately will help all Sudbury residents to continue to enjoy great schools and excellent quality of life in town," Conroy said.

Click on the pdf to review the bill.


x July 30, 2012 at 08:06 PM
It's called redistribution of income, otherwise known as class warfare. Reverend E. Raleigh Pimperton III
Edward Stark July 30, 2012 at 10:03 PM
Giving credit to Jack Ryan and Susan Iulaiano? Are you kidding me Tom? All they did was get appointed to a committee handpicked by Maureen Valente which put together a useless report that had more holes than Michael Fee's Rooster Bylaw. Then when Ryan reported their findings he thanked Valente and Turkelson over and over and over again for doing what they're supposed to do: Their Jobs! I sure hope we've heard the last of Susan and Jack in town. Sudbury just can't take any more.
x July 31, 2012 at 12:17 AM
Look for the law of unintended consequences in Sudbury. Seniors will move into town, knowing their property taxes will be subsidized by wage earners. Wage earners will be inclined to move out. Their property taxes are higher in support of the socialist mantra..."From each according to their ability; to each according to their need". Reverend E. Raleigh Pimperton III
Sid Bourne July 31, 2012 at 02:45 AM
A bit dramatic the way you state this, Rev, but I've got to admit that I agree with you on this one.
Erich Waible July 31, 2012 at 07:39 AM
Yeah, we should worry, with the housing costs in this town, people on a fixed income are gonna come flying in to buy our resonably price homes....
x July 31, 2012 at 11:55 AM
For those who rationalize by saying, "it's only $50 to $100," this is the camel's nose under the tent. New tax transfers always start small. Sudbury liberals will find other ways to use wage earner's money for those 'in need' or 'more deserving'. Reverend E. Raleigh Pimperton III
Thrice Rusty July 31, 2012 at 12:25 PM
I'm with Eric on this one. Seniors aren't flocking to Sudbury. Here's my prediction: All future 55 and older developments that we're building will go mostly unsold. The builder will go bankrupt, Jody Kablack will sell the rights to one of her builder friends who her husband Mark Kablack happens to represent as an attorney. Then they will convince our Board of Selectman to reverse the 55 and over restriction to now allow families. When it gets voted down by our Selectman Jody will just convince the ZBA to overturn it after 30 minutes of discussion. Oh by the way Mark Kablack will also represent the people of the development at the same time, thus driving a stake right through the residents causing strife between neighbors that will never be repaired. If you don't believe me look no further than the Northwoods development. It's pretty disgusting if you ask me.
Sid Bourne July 31, 2012 at 12:48 PM
Thrice Rusty, you surprise me. I didn't think that anyone besides us was aware of what is really happening at Northwood. Crazy as it sounds, your narrative is spot on. We are still swinging, but we feel awfully lonely.
SkimThreePercent July 31, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Don't be surprised. The Kablack's in general and Northwoods in particular are being watched VERY closely for the past fifeteen years. They know it but they don't care because they know O'Brien has got their back. One problem is that Ralph Tyler sold out for his tax scheme thereby removing most of the institutional knowledge with respect to the shady insider dealings. Don't give up!
Cynthia Denessen July 31, 2012 at 10:30 PM
Please keep an open mind about this bill. My husband and I have lived in Sudbury for the past 35 years raising two daughters. I taught in the SPS system for 25 years and am now retired. We would love to stay in Sudbury, but the taxes are high. We do not have huge land assets as someone above stated about some seniors. We would love some tax relief, and we know that a family with children would love to buy our home in a child-friendly neighborhood. However, the restrictions would probably not include us because of our two pensions. Maybe some day.......
Cynthia Denessen August 01, 2012 at 12:13 AM
Excellent point, Mr. Stein. I totally agree. The bill is a problem the way it is written. Changes must be made if the appropriate relief is going to be made for the seniors who could really use this tax break..... and avoid the school tax impact of a family with school children to replace these seniors. Thanks.
Thrice Rusty August 01, 2012 at 12:31 AM
Great point Cynthia. It's all about how this bill was re-written. We can thank Jack Ryan and Susan Iuliano for that. Thanks guys!
Ralph Tyler August 03, 2012 at 11:46 AM
TYLER RESPONDS: Unlike the State's Circuit Breaker Tax Credit for low and moderate income senior citizens who pay more than 10% of their income in property taxes, Sudbury's bill is not an entitlement. In a Deal reached with Bob Stein in order to gain his support added to Sudbury's bill was a specific provision giving the Board of Assessors discression in approving each and every application as well as the authority to design the application form to root out applicants who are not the intended beneficiaries of this program. Which means that Bob Stein's objections have no merit. The other very important consideration to emphasize is that even after the limited property tax relief that this measure will provide, a maximum reduction in property taxes of 50% (remember their is a cap on home value to qualify), those who receive benefits will still be paying far more in property taxes than the services used by senior citizens. In otherwords, our low and moderate income senior citizens will still be subsidizing the high cost high quality education of the generally more affluent younger families living in Sudbury. As so many people have come to understand, many senior citizens choose to leave Sudbury with high property taxes being one of the motivating factors. To the extent that their homes are purchased by those with children to be educated, each such sale adds substantially to the overall tax burden of everyone in Sudbury. This Bill is good for Sudbury!
Ralph Tyler August 03, 2012 at 12:04 PM
In my opinion, the Problem at Northwoods for the past 5 years has been that Sid Bourne and his wife Rita Bourne have been thwaring the desire of the vast majority of the residents of Northwood to complete the development. Their present Land Court awsuit is not only delaying construction to complete the project, but is punishing their condominium neighbors who face mounting legal bills and very high condominum fees because of the small number of completed units. The present developer has stated in open meetings that the Bournes are seeking a very very large monitary settlement in order to drop their lawsuits. So in my opinion the problems at Northwood at present are largely caused by Sidney and Rita Bourne who have a vendetta against the Northwood Trustees and most of their neighbors. In my opinion, the problem is not as Sidney Bourne claims insider dealings.
siobhan hullinger August 03, 2012 at 12:16 PM
Ralph - that seems to be the personal side of the issue - the real issue with Northwoods is that it was, and should remain, age restricted. If we allow the age restriction to be lifted, then we are setting a precedent for other developments to lift as well. It should remain as approved and be built out with the services that were part of the original plan. It was a bad project from the start and one we should learn from.
siobhan hullinger August 03, 2012 at 12:50 PM
I am and have been very vocal in my support of keeping the senior population vibrant in this community - it is good for everyone, however, I cannot support any measure that doesn't have a means test attached. Ralph - I have applauded your unending and unwaivering mission on this front, however, you sold out your mission by supporting the incumbents in this town. Their actions, decisions and hires have destroyed the blend of ages. The new developments will perpetuate and increase the need for more tax dollars for the schools and will most certainly increase the votes against seniors. Selling out the seniors by selling your vote was, is and will be the detriment to your mission.
SkimThreePercent August 03, 2012 at 12:54 PM
Tyler's scheme should have been pursued on a parallel track with the low interest loan (zero percent) on the regressive property tax for those who cannot pay. But Marlborough resident and Sudbury Finance Director Tekelson, Lexington resident and Sudbury Town Manager Maureen Valente, and tax dead-beat and Sudbury Selectman Larry O'Brien insist that the juice on these taxes be set at a rate that EXCEEDS the levy limits of Prop 2-1/2. How stupid is this policy? Make these managers live in Town and pay these taxes and then you will see real support for seniors. Tyler now claims the solution is to give more power to oversee the scheme to the Board of Assesors. And the Chairman is.....Myron Fox's son, Joshua. Tyler has sold out for his own purposes.
Thrice Rusty August 03, 2012 at 02:24 PM
Hey Ralph Tyler why don't you explain to everyone on here what your stake is in the Northwoods development. Do you really want to keep seniors in Sudbury Ralph? If so why are you holding those poor seniors in Northwoods hostage? What exactly is your angle here Ralph?
Ralph Tyler August 03, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Tyler Responds: I have absolutely no stake in Northwood. To the best of my knowledge, the only thing that is holding up completion of the development at this point are the Land Court Lawsuits filed by Sidney Bourne and Rita Bourne.
Sid Bourne August 04, 2012 at 01:10 AM
I agree with the Reverend about the redistribution proposed by this bill. Having local officials transferring assets from one group of residents to another is an awful idea, a bad precedent on general principles. I also agree with Robert Stein and Siobhan, that if you insist on such a transfer it needs a means test. It is lunacy to have the town transfer assets from poor or moderate young families to wealthy seniors.
siobhan hullinger August 04, 2012 at 01:37 AM
@ Ralph Tyler - and rightly so. Any new developer should adher to the age restriction and provide the services under the original plan. Setting the precedent for eliminating an age restriction on a development is bad for everyone. The current owners bought into an age restricted community and they did so willingly. Keep the age restrictionn and build out as such. Or are you saying that there is no market for seniior communities in Sudbury? Is the attorney - Mark Kablack saying that this development cannot be viable under an age restriction??? OPens a whole new set of worms and questions if that is the case. In any event, changing the original permit is unacceptable and should be litigated.
siobhan hullinger August 04, 2012 at 01:39 AM
Seems to me Ralph, that if you were for the seniors, you would be on the side of the Bournes - raises some eyebrows here. Who exactly benefits from changing the age restriction?
Thrice Rusty August 04, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Ralph tell the truth! Do you have an active lawsuit in the Northwoods case so you can claim lots that were promised to you years ago? Tell the truth Ralph or nobody will believe that you have their best interests in mind! Do you care about seniors or your own personal agenda?
siobhan hullinger August 04, 2012 at 07:49 PM
Yes, I would like an explanation from Mr Tyler as well. Seems he was a party with Mr Bourne and Mr Delise at one point http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-1st-circuit/1193084.html and then Mr Tyler sued for more than a half million http://perkinslawpc.com/pdf/Norwood-Properties.pdf - what is the story here Mr Tyler? I don't know what Thrice Rusty is referring to but now I think we all should know given what I have found and that Mr Tyler has been involved - although he doesn't live there so what is his interest?
x August 04, 2012 at 10:42 PM
This is only the beginning. Other 'disadvantaged' groups will be identified for transfer of income by manipulation of real estate taxes. Families stricken by autism, obesity and colorblindness are certainly as deserving as an elderly couple stranded in an expensive home. Create liberal minds will strive to outdo federal and state governments with their largesse. Sudbury could issue its own food stamps... valid only at the town's farm stands and then only for organic products. Utopia is within our reach. But the law of unintended consequences still applies. Think what the future can bring, Reverend E. Raleigh Pimperton III
SkimThreePercent August 08, 2012 at 12:51 AM
Sudbury is going to get the last laugh when Tyler's bill goes down to defeat at the polls. Tyler's 25 year reign of practicing law without a license is OVER! Tyler isn't fooling anyone but himself!


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