Lois Ahrens: There are ways beyond tax increases to improve Northampton
To the editor:
I have lived in Northampton since 1980 and have been an engaged member of the community as a volunteer, board member and a social justice activist. My paid work has been very rewarding but not profitable. Over the last 33 years, I hope my contributions to the city have been positive and have made Northampton a little more of what many believe Northampton should be.
I am the owner of a two-family house. I am 66 and live on a small fixed income. My property taxes, water and sewer fees now amount to almost 25 percent of my yearly income. I am not able to support the override because if it passes and fees and property taxes continue to rise, I will no longer be able to afford to live in my house.
What I find disheartening about the “Yes Northampton” campaign is that its organizers have created a false dichotomy between people who are financially able to support the override who they cast as virtuous and positive as opposed to those of us who cannot afford to support the override. We are characterized as not forward-thinking, stingy — the reactionary “No Northampton” people. There are a myriad of ways people say “yes” to Northampton and thankfully many of them do not involve voting for a tax we are unable to pay.