Saturday, August 26, 2017

Water and Sewer Bills

This past spring I made the decision to have a new front lawn installed. My lawn had serious problems and really needed an upgrade.  What does my lawn have to do with my campaign for city council?  My new lawn needed a lot of water. 

I knew my water bill would be high due to the irrigation necessary to establish the new lawn.  I received the water bill last week and it was about $300 more than my usual quarterly bill, totaling just over $500 for the quarter.  I knew this bill was coming, essentially I saw it as a cost of my new lawn, but still it definitely caught my attention.

When I was thinking about my abnormally high water bill, I took comfort knowing it would be only for one or two quarterly cycles.  It was then that I remembered that the "average family" residential water bill in Framingham is well over $1,800.  That means my “abnormally high” bill that shook my budget this month, is pretty darn close to what the average homeowner pays every quarter.  I realized that many people receive bills like this and can't look forward to relief next quarter!

My water bill drove the point home to me that water and sewer bills cannot keep on at the same rapidly ascending pace. Combined with having one of the highest tax rates in the Commonwealth, this will become unsustainable for many members of our community.

I was speaking to a constituent recently who said to me that we can’t control our bills, as most of the increase is the MWRA.  I explained that may have been the case years ago, but now it is not.  The increases are being driven by new debt service, reflective of much of the construction work you have seen happening almost constantly in recent years.

There is no question there has been some important work done to our water and sewer infrastructure over the past 10 years.  I am sure there is a lot more to be done too.  However, we have to engage in a public discussion and deliberation to discuss how much more debt we can afford.  We first must understand what exactly we are paying for.  Then, what options are there?  Are there less expensive ways to approach the problem?  

If we do not drill down on this issue, I fear how high our rates must go.  As a city councilor I commit to seriously studying this issue with the goal or eradicating the sharp rate increases of recent years.  If we do not succeed in that quest the affordability of Framingham is going beyond the reach of many.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Water and Sewer Facts

The combination of water and sewer bills along with the property tax bill cause many Framingham households struggle to meet these costs.  We need to work hard and fight to keep Framingham vibrant and affordable for all.  I am confident I can assist in this endeavor as part of our first city council.

Fact 2

Framingham's water and sewer rates have more than doubled over the last ten years.  The average residential water bill this year is in the $1,800 range on an annual basis.  

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Fast Facts

I am passionate about tax stabilization and how it impacts affordability.  Sometimes it makes me  write way too much.  For those who may not want to read all the detail, I am going to offer some quick facts over the next few days that I think spells out the problem we face as a community with our current tax situation.

Fact 1

Over the last ten years the average home value has declined about 5% in Framingham and the average tax bill has increased over 30.   #unsustainable

Friday, August 11, 2017

An Ongoing Concern

I am a bit of a broken record, but I am compelled to keep talking about the need to stabilize our taxes! 

Like many candidates I have been walking around the neighborhoods of our community for the last couple of months.  One of the concerns I have had going into this campaign was the high residential tax rate.  Talking with people at their homes, I have more than satisfied myself that mine are not isolated concerns.

Framingham’s single tax rate is higher than any town around.  Luckily the homeowner does not feel the entire impact, because Framingham “shifts” excess burden to businesses.  However, in order to compare the cost of our municipal operation, this is the rate we should use.  Framingham’s rate in 2017 is $21.52.  Natick (which actually uses a single tax rate) is $13.49.  If we were taxing apples to apples, it would cost over $800 more in taxes per $100,000 of value to live in Framingham rather than Natick.   A $300,000 house in Framingham would cost $2,400 more in taxes.

Due to the rate split that is not the case.  But it still costs $325 more per $100,000 of valuation to live in Framingham. The $300,000 house in Framingham only costs about $1,000 more a year than in Natick.   Some people say, yeah but a $300,000 house in Framingham is worth at least $450,000 in Natick so they will actually pay more!!  Well that may be so, but why are Framingham’s values down 5% over the last ten years and Natick’s are up 10%?

Values play a critical role, because If you were enjoying a significant uptick in home value, maybe the level of taxes would be more acceptable.  State statistics show that on the average your home is worth a bit less than it was 10 years ago in Framingham, but the tax bill is up over 30% in that same time frame.  Rising taxes and lowering values is an economic pitfall that must be rectified.

We have to make our government more efficient and I believe the city council form of government can do that.  I have the commitment, knowledge and experience to help the city council accomplish that task.  We do not have to reduce services; revenue growth has been robust in Framingham.  We have to spend efficiently and effectively.  We need to work hard to increase our values and decrease our taxes.  That is the approach that will benefit our economy and our quality of life.  I am committed to fighting to keep Framingham affordable for all of us.  I ask for your support on September 26th and November 7th.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

This is a good ten minute synopsis of some of the issues I think are important in this campaign

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

How to Approach a Deficit in Framingham

This newspaper article says there is about a $900,000 deficit in the present year town budget.  I appreciate the transparency, but I am not as enthused about the potential solutions.  The Selectman have wisely said they will not recommend raising property taxes closer to the limit this year in order to meet the deficit. In reality though, if the administration uses the $700,000 source of funds mentioned in the article to cover the deficit, it is in fact a raise of property taxes.  

We have been told the $700,000 was raised temporarily to ultimately smooth the tax split, not add to the permanent base. This $700,000 is something I have written about in the past.  It was raised on our tax rate, yet never appropriated by Town Meeting.  Back to my days on the Finance Committee, I was concerned about the cost this represented to the taxpayer, and if this solution is adopted the cost becomes permanent.

We need to stabilize our tax rate in Framingham, as our rate is one of the highest in the state.  It impacts the affordability of our town for many residents and it could imperil the financial stability of the Town if it keeps growing.  In a couple of recent years at this time we have had about a $5,000,000 surplus in the budget, but there was no public discussion of returning the money to the taxpayers.  Instead it was just left alone and flowed to our surplus (free cash).  Last year’s surplus should smooth this year’s small deficit. The $700,000 should be used as planned to reduce the levy.

These financial issues are complex and they impact all of us.  We can continue to fund our town well and offer excellent services, yet while stabilizing our tax rate increases.  I am confident that if I am elected to the city council I can offer meaningful leadership in these matters to benefit taxpayers.   We can’t continue to burden the taxpayer for incidental deficits, especially when we seem to never benefit the taxpayer with incidental surpluses. 

It is true the Town has raised taxes less than the maximum levy the last few years.  However, given the surpluses we have realized in those years we could have avoiding raising taxes at all.  Those opportunities do not come around often; I hope we have not missed our chance.

Stabilization of our tax bills is complex.  If I am fortunate enough to be elected, I will make it my highest priority.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017


Taxes are a subject of great concern to me.  Throughout this campaign I will continue to talk about why I feel we can substantially slow the growth of our real estate taxes and still maintain our fabulous local services.

Framingham has one of the highest tax rates in the state.  As odd as it seems, that is not directly related to how much we pay in taxes.  Instead it is a negative indicator as to the value of our real estate.  Over the last ten years, many municipalities have seen the tax rate go down (not the tax bill), because real estates values have went up.  Framingham is an outlier.

To explain that simply, if the tax rate is $10 per thousand and a house is valued at $90,000, the tax bill  is $900.  If the same  house increases in value to $100,000 the tax rate would have to go down to $9 per thousand in order to collect the same amount of money.  The same amount of money is collected, but the rate is different.  It is important to the community to keep the rate lower if possible.

The fact that our tax rate has been going up is indicative of the fact our values have not increased as rapidly as other towns.  Why is a similar house in the next town worth so much more?

We can address these issues and if elected I promise to make sure it is an issue in the forefront of the new government.  Over the next few posts I am going to explore some of the reasons why this may be happening, why it matters and what we can do about it.  Keeping our community fiscally sound and affordable is the goal, and without understanding this issue we will not be able to do that.

Thank you for reading, and as always please email me or call me with any questions, thoughts and concerns.

Sunday, July 2, 2017


The Metrowest Daily news ran my announcement today, click on this link to read it if you have not.

I am keeping busy over the holiday weekend to get the campaign plans in place and the word out to voters. It is going to be an exciting local election for Framingham.  Something that has been missing in recent years.  Competition is good for all of us, and it will make for better results for the town.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Official Announcement Press Release

I am officially announcing my candidacy tomorrow!  Please see the press release below!

June 26, 2017 

 George King officially announced his candidacy for one of the two at large seats on the new Framingham City Council today. King was a member of the Framingham Charter Commission that created the new government structure. He looks to his experience with town government as a key attribute to assisting Framingham through the transition to a city. King said, “I understand the intricacies of local government. I know how to get things done and can utilize those skills in the best interest of Framingham taxpayers as we become a city.” 

He stated several priorities that he would focus on if elected: 

 • I will maintain a sharp focus on limiting the growth in our property taxes. Framingham’s property tax rate and average tax bill are among the highest in the state. I will bring my municipal financial experience to the council and pledge to limit tax increases, while maintaining our valued services.

 • As an educator, I am committed to assuring funding for our schools. I believe the Framingham Public Schools are poised to excel under the new leadership in both the administration and on the school committee. I look forward with working with school leadership to assure quality education. 

 • I am committed to supporting and encouraging economic development opportunities that will allow Framingham to prosper. The revitalization of our neighborhood centers, the maximum economic use of our office parks and the reformation of our downtown are all critical to make Framingham prosper.  

• A focus on traffic and roadway issues is provided for in the charter. We need to fully assess the 
traffic issues the town faces on a daily basis and create rational solutions. 

King cites his experience, knowledge and commitment as qualifications for the city council. He grew up in Framingham and graduated from Framingham South High School in 1978. He earned two degrees from Boston College, a B.A. in Political Science (1982) and a C.A.E.S. in Curriculum and Instruction (2011). He also holds an M.A. in Public Administration from Framingham State University (1996). His two daughters, Cortney (2006) and Kathleen (2008) graduated from Framingham High School. 

King has served the Town of Framingham in a wide variety of roles. He was elected as a Trustee of Edgell Grove Cemetery (1978-1985, 2017) a Library Trustee (1981-1984, 1985-1991), a Charter Commissioner (2016-2017) and Town Clerk (1993-1999). He has been appointed to the Finance Committee (1991-1993, 2014-2016) and the Retirement Board (1997-2005). He also served as Framingham’s second Town Manager for nearly seven years beginning in March of 1999. 

King says, “Framingham is my home; it has been a great place to raise my children and to live for almost my entire life. I look forward to being a part of the historical transition to Framingham’s new government” His campaign website is or he can can be emailed at

Saturday, June 17, 2017

I had a great day at MetroFest today.  A tremendous community event.  Looking forward to making my formal campaign announcement in the next week!