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Opinion - Residency Requirements for Elected or Appointed Town and School Board Positions

The basic requirement for holding an elected or appointed position in the Town of Amherst is to be a resident of the town. Obviously, this makes sense.

However, I believe the residency requirement should be expanded to require the resident be a tax payer. Any person serving on a town board involving budgets affecting town taxes should be responsible for knowing how it feels to pay annual property taxes on either a business, property or house. I don't believe you can realize the impact unless you've seen the money leave your bank account. Taxes going up means you can't do other things. It's not insignificant.

How can a renter or young person living with mom and dad even begin to create policy on taxes that affect tax-paying residents? If you are a renter, you are essentially considered a non-permanent resident, in the sense that you can leave at any time with relative ease. Same goes for kids living with their parents. Taxes are only increasing, and it's hard to see how one could appreciate that if they don't have to personally pay them.

To have a say or position in town government, you should be on the receiving end of the policies you help create.

Just some food for thought before you head to the polls this Tuesday.

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