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Since the Dilly, Dally, Delay & Stall Law Firms are adding their billable hours, the Toyota U.S.A. and Route 44 Toyota posts have been separated here:

Route 44 Toyota Sold Me A Lemon

Monday, March 29, 2010

Empire State Building Retrofit

From Rocky Mountain Institute, one can always expect impressive information and results.
Below is some recent information and the point is well taken that reducing the costs of energy improves the bottom line or for the homeowner, money in your pocket.

We are excited to announce that, along with project partners Jones Lang LaSalle, Clinton Climate Initiative and Johnson Controls, RMI has won the Sustainable Building Industry Council’s "Beyond Green High Performance Building Award" for the retrofit of the Empire State Building!

The award was presented February 25 on Capitol Hill during an educational briefing for the High Performance Buildings Congressional Caucus Coalition.

A Blueprint for Success

April of 2009, we shared with you initial news of the Empire State Building retrofit. Now, ten months later, this iconic project has drawn attention to efficiency improvements and encouraged other building owners to follow suit. It has become a great example of what can cost-effectively be done in existing buildings to benefit the owner, occupants and the environment.

"As our nation pursues strategies that allow us to use our natural resources more efficiently, a focus on high-performance buildings is a must," SBIC Executive Director Bud DeFlaviis stated. "
Rocky Mountain Institute and their partners have demonstrated the role that retrofits will play in this effort. Their work will undoubtedly help inspire other forward-thinking building practitioners who are creating a new generation of buildings that are mindful of the people they serve and the environment they impact."


This award comes at a great time, with
RMI launching our new initiative, RetroFit. Building off both the success and lessons learned from our Empire State Building project, this initiative--which will be funded in large part by philanthropy--aims to encourage the retrofit of the entire U.S. commercial building stock to use, on average, 50 percent less energy by 2050.

We look forward to keeping you updated on further details on the
RetroFit initiative, as we draw closer to launch!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Taxes are for the little people

Courtesy of

Middleborough Taxpayers:

There are few things more glaringly unfair in this country than the fact that some people and some businesses get taxed at a rate less than most of the rest of us pay. Our government gives bailouts to big business. I've written recently about the tax assessments of a number of specific, high value commercial properties which have sold recently.

Apparently, some taxpayers don't need a TIF to insure a reduction in taxes. Let.s call it a TIP, To Insure Prosperity.

154 Campanelli Drive sold in 2006 for 19.1 million. It appears it was assessed for $19 million for FY 08 and 09. This year it was assessed for 14.9 million. Did they get an abatement in FY 09? Were we told a "public pension fund" bought it?

MIDDLEBORO, MA Net Lease Capital

Advisors, Inc. has completed another

property acquisition on behalf

of its joint venture program

with a major domestic public pension

fund advised by AEW Capital

Management, L.P. The joint venture,

which focuses on acquiring

net leased industrial, office, and

retail properties on an all-cash basis,

closed the $19.1 million purchase

of a 275,000 s/f warehouse

property located in a masterplanned

industrial park. Net Lease Capital and AEW view this property as a mid-to-long-term


This year they paid about $186,995 in taxes. If they were assessed closer to their fair market value, what they paid for it, they would have paid about $239,700. They get a tax "TIP" of about $52,700.00!

They asked for and got a tax abatement this year and likely last year. Their assessment was just lowered to $12.4 million. It was just a little TWEAK to the depreciation, from 25% to 40%, for a building built in 2000. That's an additional $31,000! A total of $83,000 tax "TIP".

OH! Just so happens this property WAS GETTING A TIF! They had their TIF revolked this year and so, applied for a tax abatement from the assessors. The assessors gave them an additional $31,000 abatement because they lost their TIF.

151 Campanelli Drive sold in November of 2007 for about 9 million. It's assessed for $6,063,500. This year they paid about $76,100 in taxes. If they were assessed closer to their fair market value, the price they paid for it, they would have paid about $112,950. They get a tax "TIP" of about $36,853.00.

Number 17 Cowan Drive (the FedEx property) sold in January, 2007 for about 7.9 million dollars. It's assessed for $4,113,600. This year they paid about $51,626 in taxes. If they were assessed closer to their fair market value, the price they paid for it, they would have paid about $99,145. They get a tax "TIP" of about $47,519.

A portfolio of seven Federal Express Ground distribution facilities -- including one in Massachusetts -- was sold for $52.3 million. The 546,120-square-foot portfolio includes buildings in Georgia, Idaho, Ohio, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Maine. One of the seven is a 73,137-square-foot facility in Middleborough, Mass. Most of the facilities were recently built.

Number 19 Cowan Drive , vacant commercial land, sold in September, 2008 for about 1.4 million dollars. It's assessed for $927,400. This year they paid about $11,640 in taxes. If they were assessed closer to their fair market value, the price they paid for it, they would have paid about $17,600. They get a tax "TIP" of about $5,931.00. Oh! Last year, Fiscal 2009, this property was assessed for 159,900. How can a 1.4 million property be assessed for 159,900 in the year it sold?

New England Tel. & Tel. simply asked the assessors for a tax abatement and it was granted. No questions asked. No documentation provided. No data verified. For some, it's "Ask and you shall receive." I advised another town to DENY this same taxpayer's appeal on a similar property. My value (per square foot) was double that of the Middleborough assessors.

These are just a few properties that I selected. Are we to believe everything else is correct? These "under-valuations", these TIPS, go on and on, from year to year. With only these few properties, the total TIP is about $175,000 per year. How much more is going on? Is this good decision making by the Board of Assessors?

I also question whether we have been calculating the real TIF exemptions properly or not. What do you think?

A "little guy" property, 123 East Grove Street , bought recently for $760,000. It's assessed at $741,400. No "TIP" for you. 84 South Main Street bought recently for $1,425,000 is assessed at $1,276,000. No "TIP" for you. 395 Plymouth Street recently sold for $975,000. It.s assessed at $930,700. No "TIP" for you. The "little guys" usually don't have lawyers. And,..hey're "little guys."

Regarding residential properties; I reviewed the data for properties of those taxpayers at the town's website. About thirty percent of the properties I looked at had what I suspect to be errors of data, errors of fact. Measurements were apparently wrong when comparing the sketch to the photo. Story heights (full story, three quarter story, half story) were inconsistent. Depreciation appears to be subtly random. The errors could be considered "minor", but if I can see them, why can't the assessors who work with this data daily? Why aren't they fixed? Errors in factual data result in errors in taxation! Some values were too high. Some values were too low. The result is: Some taxes were too high. Some taxes were too low. If you can't get the facts right, how can you assure the taxpayer your methodology is correct?

As your assessor I promise:

To expand awareness within the department of valuation issues and taxpayer expectations.
To initiate programs to more accurately describe and assess property.
To first correct, and then minimize, "mistakes" in the office, utilizing the existing staff.
To make the best decisions possible based upon the most accurate data available.
To assess fairly.
I have made no misrepresentations or falsehoods. I have questions. I stand behind my assertions that the assessment data is riddled with errors and fraught with poor judgment.

I can make it better. I'll look after all taxpayers. I ask for your vote for Assessor in this year's election. Let us strive for FULL and FAIR assessments for every taxpayer, big as well as small. Please tell your friends and relatives in Middleborough to vote for me. I need every vote possible.

Charles Shea, Candidate for Assessor.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Billionaires for Wealthcare

We'll let our friends from Health Care for America Now do the talking on this one:"Billionaires Get It Done: Dollar Throw Sets New Standard in Political Satire

The nation's premier band of merry political pranksters struck again today, showering Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) with real dollar bills in satirical appreciation for the Republican party's mindless obstructionism and advocacy for Big Insurance throughout the health reform debate. The event, staged with military precision by Billionaires for Wealthcare, created iconic images that will almost certainly be used for years to come to illustrate the political prostitution of McConnell and the GOP."

The Billionaires for Wealthcare thank Sen. Mitch McConnell and the GOP for their heroic attempts to kill health care reform by showering him with real cash.

And that money is just a drop in the bucket, with big insurance and allies unleashing a 5 million dollar a week torrent to block health reform. That's dollars from your premiums, going to pay 6 lobbyists for every Member of Congress. (And they still lost!)

While this may be amusing, it raises important issues about allowing lobbyinsts and Big Corporations to govern.

Earth Day: April 22nd

If you're frustrated with escalating energy bills, have an old appliance that's guzzling electricity, consider doing your homework and participating in the program explained below.

While you're at it, take a look at some of the other information available on the Mass Save site that might offer solutions to pocket the savings.

Appliance exchange program coming next month

Starting on April 22 — Earth Day — Massachusetts residents can get money back when they replace their current home appliances with new, more energy-efficient versions.

The Great Appliance Exchange, as the initiative has been dubbed, will run until May 5 and provide rebates ranging from $50 to $250 when consumers buy approved washing machines, dishwashers, refrigerators and freezers.

The Great Appliance Exchange
What you get

Rebates on purchases of energy-efficient appliances: $250 for dishwashers, $200 for refrigerators, $175 for washing machines and $50 for freezers.

For more information

Visit and click on 'For Your Home,' or call 617-626-7350.
The appliances included in the program are all Energy Star certified, a designation that indicates a product offers significant energy savings and is more energy-efficient than others of its type.

Purchases must be made from approved retailers, buyers must have their new appliances delivered to their home and old appliances must be hauled away for recycling when the new machines are delivered.

The $6.2 million program, funded by money from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, is intended to spur sales at Bay State businesses and to generate energy savings for consumers.

Prospective appliance buyers interested in participating must first reserve their rebates online; the reservation form will be available at on April 22. Consumers will be able to make reservations for as long as funds remain available.

"If you get a reservation and you follow all the other steps "» then the rebate is assured," said Lisa Capone, spokeswoman for the state Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

New appliances must be purchased by May 5 in order to be eligible for the rebate.

Twelve Cape and Islands locations are among the program's approved appliance stores.

At Wright's TV's and Appliances in Harwich, customers have already started inquiring about the program, said manager Ron Boyle.

"They're very eager," he said. "It will be a lot of business for us."

In Provincetown, potential buyers have been less curious, said Debbie Trovato, co-owner of Joe and Son Appliance Center.

"It doesn't really appear that too many people know about it," she said.

While she hopes the initiative will bring in some business, she also noted the program's potential for spreading awareness of local environmental concerns and the benefits of energy efficient appliances.

"Hopefully it will make people more aware of the energy savings and how they help the environment by doing this," she said.