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Conway voters poised to make tax cap history
On Tuesday, a representative of the New Hampshire Department of Revenue's Municipal Services Division said she had no information about any town adopting RSA 32:5-b Local Tax Cap, yet, nor was she aware of which other towns are also weighing the measure.
To be adopted in Conway, the tax caps require a three-fifths majority of votes cast.
On Tuesday evening, the Conway School Board joined the Conway Board of Selectman in voting unanimously against the caps; the Budget Committee supported the caps by a vote of 11 in favor, six opposed.
On behalf of the selectmen, Sires said the five-member board was generally concerned that the cap would impose "an arbitrary number on the town budget which needs to respond annually to different challenges and that it would reduce the flexibility the town will have in addressing both the range of services and the level of service that we're offering."
Dick Klement, a member of the Conway Budget Committee, said he and the majority of his colleagues felt that the town needs to do something to get spending under control.
"This is not just a Conway issue," he said on Monday, "I think this is a national issue. We have gotten used to printing more money than we have."
For Conway, he said a cap "is unnecessary, unconstitutional, short-sighted and dangerous."
"There's some question as to whether we have met the law regarding the posting of a petitioned article," Hounsell said, pointing out that while the cap petitions were submitted on Feb. 11, the town and school district were required to have a public hearing on them, and other petitioned articles, by Feb. 7.
"Currently, we have $1.4 billion of value in Conway and every time that drops, that raises the tax rate," he said, adding that even without making any cap-related changes to future school and/or town budgets, "We could be at a place where we can't increase anything. We'd be at a place where we'd have to cut."
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