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August 19. 2014 8:48PM

At meeting, no resistance to tax cap amendment proposal

MANCHESTER — No one spoke out against a proposed amendment to the tax cap on Tuesday that would allow city officials to use increased property valuations in calculating the budget.

The public hearing was a necessary step prior to having the proposed charter amendment appear on the November ballot.

The amendment would insert 11 words into the text of the voter-approved tax cap, allowing the mayor and aldermen to use “additional estimated value since the prior year” without being limited by the cap. The cap, as written, restricts both the size of the budget — expenditures — and projected revenues by the three-year average increase in the Consumer Price Index.

By allowing them to factor in increased valuations, through new construction and increases in property values, city officials have said they could limit the amount of revenue that has to be generated solely by raising the tax rate.

The change was proposed by Mayor Ted Gatsas, and it appears to have the support of most, if not all, of the aldermen.

Only one person spoke at the public hearing, Glenn R.J. Ouellette. He said he supported the change, but stressed the city’s real problem was spending.

“We have so much waste that still exists,” he said. “When is this city going to stop enacting ordinances that it does not enforce?” The board is set to vote on the proposed amendment at its next meeting Sept. 2. The proposal would then be reviewed by the Secretary of State, the state attorney general, and the Department of Revenue Administration.

If state officials sign off on the amendment, it would be included on the ballot for the Nov. 4 state election. Doing so would avoid the additional costs of having a separate vote on the amendment.

tsiefer@unionleader.com


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