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November 08. 2012 11:36AM

Allenstown taxes drop by $5.09, Epsom also down, others up

Receiving your property tax bill is rarely reason for celebration, but Allenstown residents may just jump for joy when their bills arrive.

While most towns are seeing an increase in property taxes, Allenstown’s rate dropped by more than $5.

Epsom’s rate dropped as well, but not by such a large number. Hooksett, Candia and Auburn all saw increases.

Allenstown

Tax bills in Allenstown will be considerably lower than last year, with the 2012 rate set at $24.21 per $1,000 of property value – $5.09 lower than last year’s rate of $29.30.

For the owner of a property valued at $200,000, that will mean a tax bill more than $1,000 lower than last year’s.

Allenstown Town Administrator Paul Apple noted that the decrease came from the school portion of the rate.

Last year’s local school tax was $16.30, while this year’s is $10.01.

The state school rate also dropped, but by just 5 cents, to $2.39 per $1,000. The town portion increased by $1.37 to $9.30, and the county portion dropped by 22 cents to $2.51.

“I think credit should be applied across the board,” said Apple. “There’s a coordinated effort to produce budgets that are responsive to the current economic climate. If you look at our warrant in the last three years, you no longer see the litany of warrant articles that all went down to defeat. On the town side, we’re targeting our spending rather than going for the “shot gun” approach.”
Apple also noted that the town and school are working with the budget committee to get guidance toward a particular goal, which is new.

“The Select Board, the School Board and the Budget Committee have jointly exercised significant leadership in cost containment on both the town and school side,” said Apple, and “The school district has taken this effort seriously and gone through its budget to deliver significant savings.
Bills have been sent out and are due Dec. 3.

Epsom

Epsom’s tax rate of $20.50 per $1,000 of property value is down $1.10 from last year’s rate.
The owner of a property valued at $250,000 would receive a tax bill of $5,125, this year, $275 less than last year.

The town portion of the tax rate increased 49 cents, to $4.89; the county portion up 5 cents to $2.84; the state school rate increased by 19 cents to $2.43; but the local school portion decreased by $1.88 to $10.34, more than making up for all the other increases.

The local school portion of the tax rate came down substantially based on two substantial factors, said School Board Chairman Dave Cummings: high school tuition and special education costs.

“Our total estimated surplus (which leads to the tax rate decrease) is $594,860, of which $156,322 is savings on high school tuition, $330,437 is special education placements, and $119,137 special education transportation,” he said. “In each of those cases, we simply anticipated more of a district cost than the actual cost ... so we saved.”
Cumming praised the school administration.

“We have an incredibly efficient administration, led by Principal Pat Connors, and a first-rate group of teachers who have now gone two consecutive years without a contract,” he said. “We’re in negotiations now and hoping to get that changed, to put together a contract that is fair to both teachers and taxpayers.”

Hooksett

Hooksett’s tax rate is increasing by almost 3 percent, set at $22.32 per $1,000 of property value. That’s 64 cents higher than last year’s rate of $21.68.

For the owner of a home valued at $250,000, the annual property tax bill will be $5,580, or $160 higher than last year.

Hooksett Town Administrator Dean Shankle Jr. attributes the rate increase mainly to a decrease in property values. With revenues down, the tax rate rises.

The town portion of the tax rate increased by 15 cents, to $6.31. The local school rate increased by 53 cents to $11.02. The state school tax came down a penny to $2.35. The county portion of the rate decreased by 3 cents to $2.64.

Tax bills are being mailed and will be due in December.

Auburn

Auburn residents are seeing a 44-cent increase in their tax bills. The total rate was set at $19.38, an increase over 2011’s rate of $18.94.

The owner of a property valued at $250,000 should expect a bill of $4,845, an increase of $110 over last year.

Auburn Town Administrator William Herman said, “This is pretty much on target with what was forecasted last year around budget time.”

The town portion of the rate is $4.19, up 11 cents from last year; local school is $11.56, an increase of 26 cents; state school rate is $2.50, up 2 cents; and county portion is $1.13, up 5 cents from last year.

Auburn is a growing town, said Herman, so the county rate increased in response to 30 new home building permits being issued.

The town portion was increased due to the town having to pick up the state’s share of costs for the New Hampshire retirement system, he said.

Herman said he anticipates tax bills being in the mail by Nov. 13, with a due date of Dec. 17.

Candia

Candia’s tax rate was set at $19.97, up 59 cents from $19.38.

Selectman Richard Snow said, “County went up, state school tax contributed $100,000 less last year, local school and town returned approximately $270,000 to the town to keep the tax rate under $20.”

Pembroke

Pembroke’s tax rate was not set by deadline.


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