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March 12, 2009 Letters to the Editor

Brewer assessor errors

Brewer residents are sending in their property tax payments. We should ask whether our assessments are accurate. Brewer assessors have made numerous errors, overassessing residents from $27,000 to $2 million, translating into excess taxes of $500 to $38,000 per year. Brewer assessors soon will be sending out notices to visit houses for assessment purposes. This is what needs to happen: The homeowners’ property records need to be included with the notice. This document lets homeowners know how they are assessed for home conditions, number of rooms, size of house, etc., and informs homeowners for how much they are being assessed. Homeowners should review this document carefully as assessors are making numerous mistakes, assessing for items that don’t exist and errors on sizes of houses.

After the visit, new building property records need to be sent to residents, explicitly explaining the reasons for any and all changes to conditions, assessment increases, etc. Examine this carefully as the assessors have been shown to make mistakes after visiting homes.

Since Brewer hasn’t reassessed buildings in more than 20 years (assessments should be conducted every four years — see the assessor’s job description at the entire city should be assessed by an outside agency that has no ties to the city. A complete assessment hasn’t occurred in decades, and seeing as how the current assessing department is making huge mistakes and home values have plummeted, a proper assessment from outside professionals is necessary.

Kevin Duplissie


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Say it ain’t so, Joe

This is in response to the March 3 front-page story on Joe Perry wanting to submit a bill to tax heating oil. This is ridiculous. He makes the argument that when we were paying $4.50 per gallon, we were just watching our money go overseas and if we tax the oil when it’s less expensive, we can use that money here in our state to help fund energy-efficiency initiatives.

Maine already has thousands who are in need of heating assistance. If we tax the oil that heats our homes, this makes it harder for people to buy it and more will need assistance. This creates more people depending on the government in order to survive and more of our tax dollars will be spent.

In this current economic situation, the last thing we need is fiscally irresponsible politicians spending our money. Gas taxes are bad enough, but at least you have somewhat of a choice when you buy gas. You need heating oil to stay warm. A tax on heating oil? Say it ain’t so, Joe.

Scott Farnham


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Smiley, meet Adams

Would someone at the newspaper please introduce Sarah Smiley to Meg Adams? Smiley’s endless whining about the discomforts and inconveniences of life in Maine suggests she desperately needs help in adapting to new surroundings. One would have thought that, given her apparent lifelong association with the military, she would have learned to adjust to new environments long ago, but evidently not. A few lunches with Meg Adams may be the answer.

Exposure to an attitude and personality consistently able to produce upbeat, enthusiastic, entertaining and informative columns from Antarctica, where surely the conditions of life must be nearly as arduous as those in Bangor, Maine, will do wonders for Smiley.

Francis Sinclaire


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History of prejudice

In response to a recent letter defending traditional marriage: Prejudice and hatred have been two prevalent forces in American history. In the early years, especially in the South, blacks were considered less than full humans, based not only on social beliefs but justified by religious beliefs and institutions. The same prejudice was displayed toward women, with some believing they could not perform the same tasks or think at the same level as men, again, perpetuated by religious views.

As a citizen of the 21st century, I hope we have learned from these mistaken ideas. However, as with all history, without studying and learning from the past we are doomed to repeat its mistakes.

The discussion of homosexual marriage is merely the new prejudice, with the opposing side citing religious and social beliefs as their reasoning for opposition. This is simply a legal matter, a union between two people with benefits and tax breaks. No government official is telling you what to believe.

Religious people and institutions need to understand that no one is stealing their institution of marriage; we simply need to extend the opportunity for the same legal rights and privileges to everyone in this country, regardless of sexual orientation.

Homosexuality is no more a deviant behavior, as the author contends, than heterosexuality. It is time to become a citizen of the 21st century and allow everyone of all sexual preferences the same rights, and more importantly, the same respect.

Shane Yardley


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Borrowed, not earned

In an AP news story, President Obama said the following about how his administration will deal with federal, state and local agencies that waste stimulus bill money: “The American people are watching,” Obama told a gathering of mayors at the White House. “They need this plan to work. They expect to see the money that they’ve earned — they’ve worked so hard to earn — spent in its intended purposes without waste, without inefficiency, without fraud.”

With all due respect, who is the president trying to kid? Earned? None of the stimulus money has been earned. With our national debt currently in the trillions, the stimulus money is being printed as you read this. It is a debt to future generations of Americans to deal with as they can.

So, let’s not kid ourselves on this point. We are doing what may be necessary, to some degree or another arguably, but this money soon to hit our local governmental coffers has not been earned. We are borrowing it from our future

Greg Palman


Greg Palman


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