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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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Since the warrant for a elected planning board passed as well as decreasing bonus density to 35%. Will the recent 3 large developmental go through ?



Positiveky enlightening!



Responding to the poll tax comment from Ken, this opinion does not suggest renters pay taxes. There was a bigger discussion of this on the Amherst Residents Facebook page. Per state law, members of these boards are required to be residents. I think the town can define what that means (own property, long term renter, etc.). The point of this suggestion is to reduce the likelihood of those serving who are short-term renters (ie, maybe 6 months for a job) getting into the boards and being able to vote on big developments and big budgets that will affect residents in the long term. It's not meant to exclude long term renters etc. Really just tightening up the regulations as the…



Yeah, no. That's tantamount to a poll tax, which has been deemed unconstitutional in many different guises. Nice try, though.

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