Community Ethical Question
While I admit we got it pretty good here in Maine, when it comes to taxes we take the brunt. Maine has the highest taxes nationwide when you factor in everything. Anyway our property taxes are high as well.
Last year we paid 2961 dollars for 402 acres of land, three houses, and a house lot with well and septic. This year it went up to 3900 dollars...pretty darn steep for what little we have. Now of that 402 acres, 100 acres is in open land and is aggressively farmed so we get a discount for being a farm. We also get some homestead exemptions, but that still leaves roughly 300 acres we must pay full tax value on.
So here is my question. That 300 acres or so is all forested. For generations we have selective cut, planted trees and took care of it generally. Really good care of it actually. Basically its a tree growth system without getting the tree farm property tax exemption. To get that we have to officially apply for it. That means you get 60% off your tax bill, but there are stipulations. You cannot build on that land, deviate from the woodlot plan, or even post the land to keep trespassers off. If you chose to take any portion out of tree growth and sell it, you have to pay the back taxes you were allowed to keep (remember that 60% tax rebate?). It will also require us getting a Forester to come in and do a forest plan, a cost of 1400 dollars or so.
Anyway I would like to do that as 3 grand a year is kind of steep for just a few hundred acres of rural land in my opinion. I think if my father and I team up we can get a break on the forest plan too because it will be a 2-for-1 deal for the forester.
Now the ethical part. We live in a small town. If we apply for this and get it, that means our taxes will go down, but the other neighbors will go up to make up the difference. That does not really make for nice rosy neighbor relations. I still think we should do it as we are doing what we are supposed to do with our forest ground anyway, we just aren't getting the tax breaks. My father thinks its unethical to get the government involved in our centuries old family farm and up the neighbors taxes.
What do you guys think.
I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"