Why do I get upset with Dark Siders? I get upset with anyone who deliberately or unintentionally hurts and damages Newburyport. I look at Newburyport as a precious and bejeweled city and I get upset when it is attacked or infiltrated by robbers and thieves or by just plain self-destructive individuals willing to take the rest of us down so we can share in their misery!
Dark Siders constantly stress business and industry as the strong backbone of Newburyport. They poo-poo anyone who thinks that eco-tourism or heritage tourism is the ticket for the future. When someone slathers blacktop on the front of their house or replace historic materials with plastic or do something as diminishing as plastic A-frame signs or plastic fences; they say, ‘Who cares.” Historic Preservation doesn’t matter. Industry is the ticket! We should care less about our historic district and focus on industry. Our industrial ‘park’ will make the difference. It’s the future for Newburyport.
I get furious because unfortunately, many bankers and investors actually listen to these people as if they were ‘experts’. It is clear that our great local banks, keep getting swayed by these people.
So let’s look at reality:
And translated into numbers:
Of course, this is only looking at from the government’s tax earning view but realize – if it wasn’t for this proportion, our taxes would choke us as it has for so many other communities. In contrast, we have the lowest taxes in the region!
Most of our tax revenue comes from residential. The fact is that we do not have houses stretching from border to border like so many urban-sprawled communities. So what explains this enormous valuation in which the City of Newburyport gets almost all its earnings from homes?
IT IS BECAUSE HISTORIC PRESERVATION HAS GENERATED STABLE AND EVER INCREASING PROPERTY VALUES.
And it isn’t just City Hall that benefits. Our banks do very well living off the high valuation of our homes as local craftsmen EVERY DAY live off our high equity and property values since homeowners borrow and then improve their places. Attracted by historic preservation and our beautiful neighborhoods and by the surrounding ecology; our city lives off visitors of which 14% return and have been returning year after year buying the historic homes and infusing more cash into our community. It is historic preservation that has rejuvenated and made us an affluent community.
Therefore, a huge amount of stress should be focused on proper zoning, proper business codes, proper historic preservation and a major effort to educate homeowners so this affluence can be sustained into the future. It means we need to focus on maintaining our historic neighborhoods, our historic downtown and making sure we have heritage focused infrastructure such as brick sidewalks, underground utility lines and putting in colonial lanterns. We should be jealously guarding the very source of our revenue by watching out for self-serving developers and punishing them with fines for exploiting our treasured assets.
This is why dark siders end up hurting our City. It is the classic case of casting pearls before swine and their behavior is like dogs returning to their vomit.
Their financial delusion is destroying our future.
PS. Last night, the assessor indicated that property value increases compared to last year outstripped estimates – of course, our government-focused Mayor pushed the tax increase higher anyway instead of keeping it the same – not good when you’re on a fixed income and forcing many of us on the edge to move out! (This is before we add new schools, senior centers and a new water facility!)