Town of Milton Election Guide: Assessor
There are two people running for one seat on the Milton Board of Assessors.
There are two candidates running for assessor: incumbent assessor M. Joseph Manning and his challenger, Jim Henderson. In anticipation of the Town Election on Tuesday, April 26, both candidates have responded to a brief questionnaire from Milton Patch; their responses are below.
Name: M. Joseph Manning
How long have you lived in Milton: I’ve lived in Milton, all my life.
Why are you running for Assessor: I’ve got a great interest in the Town of Milton and have through all of my years living here. My family established a business here, back in 1891. It’s still functioning today in the fifth and sixth generations of the Mannings. And so I think if I can contribute in anyway, which I have been honored to serve in a variety of capacities in Milton, both appointed and elected. And I feel that I’m capable to continue to serve if the people see fit on Tuesday.
What do you think you would bring to the Board of Assessors: I think the biggest attribute that I bring is my years of experience both as an assessor as well as my years here in the town knowing the community as I know it, which has a great bearing in our work as we view the 13.2 miles of the town.
What are the most important issues in the election: I think that one of the focuses that has been brought out is about full-time assessors, which I don’t think is needed. In fact, if you look at the manifest, you’ll find out that all of your elected officials serve Milton on a part-time basis. And for a town to be considered one of the best 10 towns in the Commonwealth, it certainly gives a great tribute to these services of the people who serve the town.
Name: Jim Henderson
How long have you lived in Milton: My wife Kathy and I, along with our two sons Andrew and Colin who attend Milton High School, have lived in Milton for 16 Years. I grew up just across the line in Hyde Park and always had a liking for Milton. I am a graduate of Boston Latin School and Babson College. I am a licensed CPA and Real Estate Broker. I own my own accounting and tax business called TaxSense. I am active in many town activities such as coaching youth sports and sitting on the Milton Foundation for Education Board.
Why are you running for Assessor: Two years ago I had two Milton senior clients who I know both qualified for the senior exemption. Neither one had applied for the exemption. When I asked why, one said she didn't know anything about it, the other said that the application forms were too difficult to complete. Being in the tax business where I assist clients in navigating the tax maze, I know the average taxpayer can be confused and intimidated by any tax process.
Just like the IRS has a Taxpayer Advocate Office, Milton taxpayers deserve an advocate on the board to proactively work for them. I will be that Tax Advocate.
What do you think you would bring to the Board of Assessors: I bring over 30 years of real world professional tax and real estate experience. I understand that technology is available to make access to the Assessors office open and easy. Additionally, the Assessors office should post online all meeting schedules, agendas and minutes, as well as fill in the form abatement and exemption applications.
Our present Board has been controlled by the same two individuals, Mr. Manning being one of them, for the last 50 years. There has been little if any substantive change to the Board for decades. In this vital position that directly affects every homeowner's wallet, we need someone with the skill, energy and fresh perspective.
What are the most important issues in the election: Compared to Boards of similar towns, our Board meets 1/2 as often, works 1/2 the hours, is in full attendance less than 1/2 the time, and all this has been going on for 1/2 a century. Sort of like "taxation with 1/2 the representation." I would propose that the Board should meet more often and work longer to address important issues such as:
- Review the tax exempt status for certain properties.
- Holding how to workshops for filing exemption and abatement applications.
- Upgrade the Assessor website as described above.
- Advocate for the Milton Taxpayers.