The State of Wayland Assessments


The film clip to the right is a 10 minute highlight of a 90 minute meeting.  You will see the public comment of two Wayland residents and then a brief segment from Mr. Scheid.

Received vs. grant abatement requests

A quick inspection of the blue and purple bars shows that about 1/2 of all received abatements were ultimately granted either in full or in part.  The data point for 2008 is believed to be 400+ but this needs to be verified.

Abatement refunds

This chart shows that about $1.29M was refunded in the years spanning 2003 to 2008 inclusive.

Remember, this money refunded comes directly from the cash fund which is set aside to account for this activity.  As assessments grow more accurate and there are less requests, then money does not need to be refunded back and that money which is not refunded back is then more evenly spread across all the citizens of the town.  The town keeps more revenue and the citizens get a more fair deal.

Notice that since 2004 there has been an ever increasing rate of dollars refunded.  The chart above shows that the absolute number of requests is not increasing but the absolute amount is.

Why is this happening?

The most fundamental component of a town’s infrastructure is its fair, accurate and consistent database of real estate property records. 

We can all agree that all properties in Wayland should be judged in a way that each property pays only its fair share of the tax levy burden.

If the playing field is not level, then how can Wayland town government, in good conscience, ask for taxes or increases in taxes from its citizens.

The result of unfair assessments is:

  1. 1.Unfair tax burden distributions

  2. 2.Government mistrust

  3. 3.Fear and unpredictability of one’s own financial situation

  4. 4.Expense and frustration on the part of many who seek tax justice.

The town of Wayland, realizing that it potentially had a problem with its assessment system, hired an outside consultant to analyze our assessment system and recommend remedies.  Mr. Harald Scheid was paid $40K to perform this consultation task. 

On December 8th, 2008 the Board of Assessors in conjunction with the Board of Selectmen held a public hearing on the ‘State of Wayland Assessments.’  The verdict?  Not good.  Bad data, inconsistent data, valuations that change +/- 30% year to year.  Inside inspections not done, properties excluded when they should have been included.

We do have one bragging right however. Among a large set of our peer towns, Wayland has the highest number of abatement requests of all.  Why would that be true?  Its because of the property valuation fluctuations in conjunction with incorrect data. 

This video clip  clarifies the situation:

The chart below shows the abatement requests received and granted from 2003 to 2008 inclusive.

Note: I believe that there were 400 abatement requests in 2008 however I do not have confirmation of that.

The chart below shows the abatement refunds granted from 2003 to 2008 inclusive.

Note: I believe that there were 400 abatement requests in 2008 however I do not have confirmation of that.

A Petitioner’s Article for the April,2009 Town Meeting calls for a comprehensive “Full List and Measure” property review.

The article asks for $200,000 to have Wayland’s Assessment database upgraded and fixed.  This is a major step in making tax assessments in our town fair and level.

We owe a debt of gratitude to a number of private citizens who have worked hard behind the scenes to study, understand and question the Board of Assessors for the purpose of correcting our assessment system.

On February 3, 2009, the Finance Committee accounted for this $200,000 sum.

Wayland citizens must attend April Town Meeting and vote in favor of the “Full List and Measure” article. 

Do it for your neighbors.

Do it for yourself.

This is a worthwhile expenditure !

Email Me