Nicholas Howard: Board of Assessors

March 7, 2024
Nicholas Howard is a candidate for the Board of Assessors.

Nicholas Howard basically volunteered on the vacant spot to run for Board of Assessors at the Annual Town Caucus in January. 

“I’ve long been somebody who does not like unopposed races – I like the idea of giving everyone a choice. My general plan was I was going to run for something, maybe multiple things,” he explained. 

Then the Board of Assessors was the very first race that had no takers- that race effectively was unopposed.

Howard has lived in Bedford since 2001. His undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is in management, he said, and professionally most of his concentration has been in the field of data science.

He said he describes himself as “someone who focuses on what could go wrong.” He said this “constructive opposition” can “identify flaws in an approach and come up with creative solutions. He added, “I try to work with people, disagree without being disagreeable.”

Howard is already thinking about topics he might introduce on the Board of Assessors, including an idea sparked after a personal experience with the process of applying for a property tax abatement.

 “There might be people who are being sent tax bills who would get abatements, but they are scared out of it and they just accept it,” or they are asking whether it is worth the time, Howard said.

He is contemplating a concept he called “presumptive abatements,” that would involve “some statistical analysis to see what types of situations lead to abatement requests being approved.” 

If the board could identify those types of requests in advance, he said, perhaps it could streamline the review “so people wouldn’t have to go through the abatement process.” 

That could benefit some property owners who pay a larger tax bill than necessary, in anticipation of a probable tax abatement, he noted.

Appearing before the board to claim an abatement can be a “scary process” for some people, Howard said, and “I’d like to help people avoid going through that process.”

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