MMA meeting this morning

The Massachusetts Municipal Association is holding a briefing this morning on the current status of legislative issues at the Stoughton town hall.

Angel Run T-shirts


Register for the Angel Run by 11/3  at  to get a T-shirt.

$25 for the most family fun Medfield has to offer.

Get the prerace training instructions at MFi’s Facebook page.

Grab your family and friends, and all run together on 12/7.


Jazz at Dwight-Derby House tonight

This from the Cheryl O’Malley -

Hi everyone,


Don’t miss tonight’s October Festival at the Dwight-Derby House from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm. You will experience the best Medfield has to offer with music, food,beer and wine tasting in a very historic setting.


Shane Wood, a Medfield resident and well known jazz musician, will bring the best in Jazz to your ears which is brought to you by a grant from the Medfield Cultural Counsel. 


Tim Larkin of Larkin’s Liquiors will tantalize your taste buds with a selection of wines and beer that will be sure to please your taste buds.


Last but not least, there will be an amazing spread of food from Roach Brothers for the Brother’s Market the newest venue in Medfield. The evening will start with wine and cheese, then move to the main course of Beef Stroganoff or Chicken Parmesan and Broccoli & Cauliflower Au Gratin or Thyme Roasted Carrots and finish with European Pastries.


Our store will also be open for your shopping convenience. We have lots of new products for all your gift giving needsd.


Don’t let the rain keep you from enjoy this wonderful evening for only $25 at the door. All proceeds will support the on going maintenance, preservation, restoration and operations of the Dwight-Derby House a significant historic structure of Medfield which is managed by the Friends of the Dwight-Derby House a non-profit organization.


I hope to see you there!


Cheryl O’Malley


Friends of the Dwight-Derby House

P.O. Box 527

7 Frairy Street

Medfield, MA. 02052


MCPE student trivia 11/11

This from Susan Maritan of MCPE -

Student Trivia Challenge Scheduled for Middle and High School Students

The Medfield Coalition for Public Education is pleased to host a new event for the students of Medfield in grades 6-12: it is a trivia event that promises to be fast-paced and humor-filled, testing students’ knowledge in geography, sports, music, pop culture and more. It will be held on Monday, November 10th in the high school cafeteria.

Teams of four will compete for great prizes in either the middle school or high school division, and the cost is $40 per team. Each registrant will receive a free raffle ticket for a chance to win a $50 Visa gift card. Additional raffle tickets may be purchased at the event (1 for $1 or 6 for $5). The winner need not be present to win.

The middle school student check-in is scheduled for 3:00, and the trivia event will run from 3:30-4:30. Likewise, the high school check-in is scheduled for 4:30, and the event will run from 5:00-6:00. Please note, there is no school on Tuesday, November 11th in recognition of Veterans Day.

“We are really excited about this new event,” said Michelle Barrette, MCPE Vice President and chairman of the trivia events. “The students are excited that there i’s a trivia event for their age group. Plus, there are several teams of teachers from both the high school and middle school who are going to compete as well. I think their involvement will increase both the challenge and the fun. If you’re interested in registering a team, please go to our web site,”

MCPE will be running not only the Student Trivia Challenge this November, but also the second annual MCPE Community Trivia Night.

“Last year we ran a very successful trivia event for the over 21 crowd,” said Kim Price Co-President of MCPE. “We attracted an eclectic group of folks from across our community, and it was truly a great night. As a result, we decided to run another event this year, on Saturday, November 14th. We are working with a new trivia company: Putterboy Productions. We are pleased to say that this event has sold out, but if people are interested in participating and didn’’t register in time, we suggest that they add their names to the waiting list, as we did have teams cancel last year.”

“We also encourage people to purchase tickets for our amazing Legacy Place gift basket, valued at over $450,” Price added. “Tickets can be purchased in advance on our web site,, and the winner need not be present to win. Proceeds from all of the events will be used by MCPE to support public education in Medfield.”

The Medfield Coalition for Public Education (MCPE) is an independent, non-profit organization funded to provide system-wide support and academic enrichment for the Medfield Public Schools, with particular attention to academic needs that exceed the parameters of the school budget. They strive to encourage and maintain academic excellence in the face of increasing financial constraints. The MCPE awards grants to support the development of innovative programs, curriculum and enrichment. Awards favor projects that meet student needs and increase motivation to learn, as well as stimulate creativity in the classroom. All staff, teachers, administrators and counselors are eligible to apply for a grant, as long as a direct impact upon students can be demonstrated.

More progressive property tax

This article came in the e-newsletter today from the DOR’s Division of Local Services, describing the residential exemption that towns can adopt that shifts real estate taxes from less valuable properties to more expensive properties and properties owned by non-residents.

Understanding the Residential Exemption
Tony Rassias – Bureau of Accounts Deputy Director

The residential exemption, MGL c. 59, s. 5C, is a not-oftentimes voted provision of the 1979 classification law that shifts the tax burden within the Residential class from the lower valued properties to the higher valued ones and to those owned by nonresidents. This article will take a look at the exemption’s requirements, how the exemption works and will conclude with some frequently asked questions of the Division of Local Services.

Exemption Requirements

The residential exemption may be voted annually by the board of selectmen or by the mayor with the approval of the city council. The vote is customarily taken at the annual classification hearing, but the vote may be taken prior to that time. In addition, the exemption:

  • By statute may be no more than 20 percent of the average assessed value of all class one, residential parcels;
  • Bay be applied to a residential parcel that is the owner’s principal place of residence as of January 1, as used for state income tax purposes;
  • May be granted in addition to any other exemptions allowable under MGL c. 59, s. 5 as well as in addition to the Community Preservation residential exemption;
  • May not reduce the taxable value of the property to less than 10 percent of its full and fair cash value, except through the application of the hardship exemption, and the exemption for paraplegic veterans and their surviving spouse.


In this example, the Total Residential Value (A) is divided by the Total Residential Parcel Count (B) to yield an Average Residential Value (C). This Average Residential Value (C) is then multiplied by the Selected Residential Exemption Percent (D) to yield the Residential Exemption (E).
On the Tax Rate Recap

Once the exemption has been calculated and voted, both the Total Residential Value (A) and the Total Residential Value minus Exemption (H) are transferred to the Tax Rate Recap.

The Total Residential Value (A) is used to calculate the classification percentages and to determine Prop 2 1/2’s levy ceiling (Editor’s Note: For more information on the Levy Limit, please see our recent three part series on the subject.)

The Total Residential Value minus Exemption (H) is used to calculate the residential class tax rate. By reducing the Total Residential Value (A) by the Total Residential Exemption Value (G), the residential class tax rate will increase, the total tax levy for the residential class will remain the same and the property tax burden will shift as intended.

The Break-Even Point and the Burden Shift

The break-even point, or point of benefit neutral assessment, is that point (actually a dollar spread due to rounding) of assessed valuation less the exemption at which the tax burden for residential class properties begins to shift, i.e. when the residential class property taxpayer begins to pay less or more property tax than if the exclusion wasn’t voted at all.

Using the example from above, the Break-Even Point (I) can easily be calculated as the Total Residential Value (A), divided by the Number of Eligible Residential Parcels (F).
On the Tax Bill

Once the tax rate has been certified by the Bureau of Accounts, the exemption is applied to the 6,428 eligible residential parcels identified in F above on the first actual tax bill. A location on the front of the real estate tax bill must show the exemption amount and on the back the abatement application deadline. An aggrieved taxpayer who did not receive the residential exemption may file an application for abatement to the Board of Assessors within three months of the date the actual tax bill was mailed.

Example Properties

Now let’s look at four example residential properties and see how the break-even point and the residential exemption work. Let’s assume a residential tax rate of $11.32/000 without the exemption and $13.06/000 with the exemption.

As shown in Chart 1, Property #2 shows the break-even point and a “neutral” tax bill, with or without the exemption. Property #1, which is below that point, has a tax savings with the residential exemption while Property #3, which is above that point, has an additional cost with the exemption. Property #4 belongs to the nonresident and although below the break-even point, has a greater cost than the higher valued Property #3 because the nonresident does not receive the exemption.

Chart 1

Communities with the Exemption

Because it is an annual acceptance, the number of communities voting the exemption could vary each year. Generally, however, about the same communities vote the residential exemption each year and have for many years. The 13 communities that have voted the residential exemption for FY2014 are Barnstable, Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Nantucket, Somerset, Somerville, Tisbury, Waltham and Watertown.

Communities voting the exemption can be characterized as large cities or towns with many non-owner occupied properties such as apartment buildings or investment properties and/or resort communities with many seasonal residents.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of application form is used to file for an abatement of the residential exemption?

The taxpayer may use the residential exemption application form approved by the Commissioner of Revenue or the regular abatement application form.

If a residential exemption is granted by the board of assessors after a properly filed application for abatement, what account is charged?

Because the exemption was sought by way of abatement, the Overlay is charged.

What are the qualifications for receiving the residential exemption?

The taxpayer must own the property (be the holder of record title) and occupy the property as their principal place of residence as of January 1, as used by the taxpayer for state income tax purposes. The exemption is not applied to summer homes or to accessory land incidental to a residential use. Determining eligibility could prove problematic and a disincentive to adopt the law at all. The community may want to delay adoption of the exemption for the first year, possibly even for one fiscal year, to allow for proper domicile and ownership research.

What if the applicant does not file an income tax return?

The board of assessors may use municipal records such as census data, street lists, voter records, motor vehicle registrations or licenses and other credible information in lieu of the tax return or may request other information from the taxpayer. It is recommended that the board consider creating a policy as to what type of information would be considered and apply the policy in a consistent and uniform manner.

Will this exemption help the elderly?

Be careful! Oftentimes the elderly convey their property to a trust where they may possibly lose legal and/or beneficial interest in the property and disqualify themselves from the exemption. Also, the elderly may own property valued greater than the break-even point. In these cases, voting the exemption to help them may in fact place an additional burden upon them.

If you need more assistance on this topic, you may review IGR 14-401 on the topic, try the Residential Factor Calculator on the DLS website or contact the Division of Local Services at 617-626-2300.

Garage open house & Grist Mill turbine

On Saturday October 25

  • the DPW hosts a once in a lifetime open house from 10 – 2 at the new Highway Garage, and
  • the Kingsbury Pond Committee holds a once in a lifetime turbine installation event employing a team of draft horses at the Grist Mill from 2 – 4 PM.

CMS ditches PI set asides

This great news came in an email this afternoon from the American Association for Justice, saying the CMS, which operates Medicare, had decided to not move forward with requiring the proposed set asides for personal injury case settlements, which would have really severely hurt those already injured people even more.

Linda A. Lipsen
Chief Executive Officer

Dear Members,

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has withdrawn its proposed rule on future medicals called “Medicare Secondary Payer and Future Medicals,” which proposed regulations to govern how and when an injured individual who receives a judgment, settlement, or award would need to pay for any future medical care needed as a result of the accident, illness, or injury in question.

The withdrawal of the rule affects all trial lawyers across the country, whether they represent cases involving slip and fall to complex products liability.

This is a huge victory that we achieved thanks to the excellent guidance provided by AAJ’s Regulatory Counsel, Sarah Rooney, and AAJ’s Medicare Secondary Payer Advisory Group chaired by AAJ President-Elect Larry Tawwater.

AAJ lobbied hard against the proposed rule which was issued in June 2012. Part of our lobbying strategy involved our working with a broad coalition which includes consumer and patient groups, businesses, and insurers.

The rule would have reduced access to civil justice for Medicare beneficiaries and would have left them without the benefit of Medicare coverage when they are sick or dying. Our lobbying has achieved the results we wanted for you and your clients—CMS has withdrawn the rule from review.

We believe as a result of all of the concerns that this coalition raised, the Administration recognized that the rule, as drafted, was unfair and harmful and decided that it could not move forward with the rule. This means there currently is no future medical rule pending.

We are unaware of any plans to reinstitute this process, although, CMS is legally able to do so. If you have questions concerning this issue please email

We will continue our strong advocacy in this arena. We know it is of utmost importance to you and your clients.


Best Regards,
Linda Lipsen
American Association for Justice


For All Trial Lawyers: Future Medicals Rule Withdrawn


American Association for Justice Education

Trial Advocacy College: Damages with David Ball, Ph.D
October 23–25, 2014

Atlanta, GA


The Next Step Seminar: The Newest Innovations in Case Framing

November 21–22, 2014
Atlanta, GA


Weekend with the Stars

December 12–13, 2014

New York, NY
American Association for Justice Resources

2014 Annual ConventionPlayBack AAJ Recording