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December 10. 2012 8:57PM

Rindge tax bills sent out late; town borrows to cover bills

RINDGE - A tight timeline from the Department of Revenue Administration and a series of mistakes have resulted in property tax bills going out late and town officials taking out a loan in anticipation of taxes this year.

The bills that normally go out in November went out Wednesday and Thursday of last week, said Town Administrator Carlotta Lilback Pini.

Pini said she believes the issues first started at the state level, since budget cuts seemed to have slowed the setting of tax rates.

"They are short-staffed because they've cut way back," she said. "I'm fairly sure that process was delayed, but I can't say that with a certainty."

Then, once the tax rate was set, an error was found.

"A property had been double counted," Pini said. "We had to go back and reset the tax rate."

Once that error was fixed the bills were printed, but a numerical error was found in the printed bill. A wrong number had been keyed in and it wasn't a quick fix, Pini said. "We had to have them go in and tinker with our data," she said. "It was a series of unfortunate mistakes that delayed the process."

But the bills have been sent out and taxpayers have 30 days from the time bills are sent, which means property owners have until Jan. 7 to submit their payments.

Pini said those who intend to take a real estate tax deduction need to pay their property tax bill before the end of the year.

In the meantime, Rindge doesn't have a large enough surplus to pay the school and county bills, Pini said. But the town has worked hard to avoid tax anticipation notes in recent years and as a result has a flexible working relationship with the school district.

The Jaffrey-Rindge School District will accommodate the town and wait a few weeks for its payment; however, Cheshire County cannot wait because its bills are due, Pini said. So a tax anticipation note for $1.5 million was taken out to cover the $1,735,986 for the county and to cover town payroll.

"There is a cost associated with the tax anticipation note, but interest rates are so low it's minimal interest. Ours is 1.89 percent and we're only borrowing it for 60 days," Pini said, though adding, "I don't want to minimize it. . I would rather not take it out at all."

mpierce@newstote.com


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