Taxpayers will be an opportunity to ask questions about their automobile taxes and the motor vehicle exemption at a Saturday, Oct. 8 forum from noon to 3 p.m., Mayor Scott Avedisian announced yesterday. The forum at City Hall is designed to enable taxpayers to step in at any point to have questions answered on a one-to-one basis.
“Last week’s public hearing before the City Council, which had a number of previously scheduled agenda items, was not favorable to the question-and-answer format that was clearly desired by interested residents,” reads the release issued by the mayor.
Rob Cote, who has spearheaded the Car Tax Revolt, welcomed the forum.
“I appreciate him [the mayor] stepping up to the plate,” Cote said.
He termed the forum “damage control” and an effort to preempt the dialogue he hopes will take place at a public hearing Oct. 12. The council called for the hearing so that residents might question city officials on the car tax.
Cote mounted his campaign after the council and mayor did away with $5,500 of the $6,000 auto exemption so as to balance the city budget starting July 1. Removal of the exemption is projected to raise about $8 million.
Cote says the action could have been averted had the budget been cut and suggests budget cuts be made now.
In the press release, Avedisian said he hopes that providing residents with the opportunity to ask pertinent questions regarding taxes in a less formal atmosphere will result in an understanding of the choices that the city’s elected officials face each year as they head into the budgeting process while at the same time offering an opportunity to have a respectful exchange of ideas.
Tax Assessor Office staff will be available to meet one-on-one with residents to explain any questions regarding their individual motor vehicle taxes as well as the appeal process.
Accompanying Avedisian at the forum will be the Tax Collector/Acting Assessor Ken Mallette. Finance Director Ernie Zmyslinski will also be in attendance.
City Council members have been invited to attend.
“We’re not going to be looking at this in place of the public hearing,” Cote said, “we’re not going away.”