MANCHESTER — The tax rate for Manchester for fiscal year 2019 has been set at $23.68 per $1,000, up 36 cents — or 1.54 percent — from the FY 2018 tax rate of $23.32 per $1,000, according to City Finance Director William Sanders.

The anticipated proposed tax rate set by aldermen in June was $23.65 per $1,000.

“I’m glad we came in below the tax rate of 1.63 (percent),” said Alderman-at-Large Joe Kelly Levasseur. “This is a win for the taxpayers.”

“The tax rate went up 36 cents this year,” said Ward 12 Alderman Keith Hirschmann. “In the past five years, there have been two tax decreases, and three of the overrides have resulted in tax increases.”

“I want to thank Alderman (chairman Dan) O’Neil for his excellent work in designing a budget,” said Ward 7 Alderman Bill Shea. “I didn’t always agree with you, but I want to thank you personally. You did an excellent job.”

For the owner of a home assessed at the city’s average median home value of $235,900, the annual tax bill will go up $85 to $5,586 for the year, while the bill on a $300,000 home will climb $108, to $7,104.

Manchester operates under a cap on property taxes established by a voter-approved amendment to the city charter. Generally referred to as a tax cap, the charter provision limits the total amount of money raised from property taxes rather than the tax rate itself.

The cap limits the city’s tax revenue to the average increase in the federal consumer price index, or CPI, during the three previous calendar years, plus the value of new construction.

According to Sanders, the city’s net assessed valuation increased by $52.6 million, or 0.58 percent, from 2017. The budget passed by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen assumed an increase of .94 percent, or $85 million.

Back in June aldermen approved a $342 million fiscal year 2019 budget that raised the tax cap to earmark $1.25 million in additional funds for schools and $480,000 more on the city side.

O’Neil authored a compromise that gave Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bolgen Vargas $1.25 million more than he asked for, and set aside $2 million of city money in a contingency fund for aldermen to dole out later in the year.

The voter-approved tax cap allowed for a 1.63 percent tax increase in FY ’19, but O’Neil’s budget topped that by .71 percent, operating at a 2.34 percent tax hike.

The new tax rate will be reflected in the first tax bill for FY 2019.

Paul Feely is the City Hall reporter for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. Reach him at pfeely@unionleader.com

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