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Joyce Endee

Property tax rates set for most Carroll County towns

November 21, 2012
COUNTY — Nearly all of the County's 19 towns and unincorporated places have had their property tax rates set for the year by N.H. Department of Revenue Administration (DRA), with some towns already sending out the bills.

A drop of $1.33 in the local school tax rate accounted for the town with the largest decrease in their overall tax rate. Effingham taxpayers paid the highest tax rate in the county in 2011 at $19.16. This year the total tax rate is $17.76 with the main decrease of $1.33 due to the cut in the amount the town will owe the school district this year.

As of press time, the property tax rate for Ossipee which includes each of the town's three fire precinct tax rates had not yet been set. The tax collector's office hopes to have the rate to be able to send out the bills by Nov. 27 in order to have the payments due by the end of the year. This is important to property owners as it allows them to deduct the property tax amount paid from their income taxes next spring.

In Albany, the total rate increased just 21 cents to $10.97. In addition, that town's taxpayers add $3.61 to that payable to the Conway Village Fire District.

Freedom taxpayers will see a 94 cent increase in their overall rate which stands at $12.43 now. That increase is attributable to a 51-cent jump in the local school rate and a 40-cent increase in the town tax rate.

Madison's property tax rate decreased by 43 cents this year to $15.40 thanks to a 55-cent reduction in the town portion of the tax bill. For those property owners in the Eidelweiss development, they add on $4.13 to their rate, bringing their total property tax rate up to $19.53 per thousand of assessed valuation. It' s the difference between a Madison property owner with a property valued at $100,000 paying $1,540 for a total tax bill but if that property was in Eidelweiss, paying $1,953 instead.

With a 43-cent increase in the overall rate, Tamworth property owners now pay the highest base tax rate in the county at $19 per thousand.

DRA makes the property tax rates available for public viewing for all New Hampshire towns and precincts at their website at http://www.revenue.nh.gov. To access the rates once on their website, click on "Local Government" on the right side of the green bar at the top of the page then select "Municipal Services Division."

The Carroll County Government tax rate comparison is also spelled out in a spreadsheet on their website. This year, the County will be seeking $13,215,222, an increase from $12,845,836 last year. Figuring the county tax rate is a formula that takes into consideration the total approved county budget then subtracting any revenue and using available surplus, if any, to offset the total rate. How much each town is responsible for paying is then calculated based on the town's total valuation of all property.

With the total value of all property in their town at about $2.7 billion, Moultonborough's taxpayers pay the largest portion, 23.1 percent of the county budget for a total of $3,053,755. Wolfeboro with $2 billion in property worth pays 16.2 percent of the county budget and Conway with $1.4 billion in total property value pays 11.4 percent of the bill. With those three towns paying just over half of the county government's total budget, representatives from each of the towns have met with county commissioners asking them to give their towns a credit because they have their own emergency dispatching centers and don't think they should have to help pay for the county dispatch center as they are currently. No action has been taken on the request that is getting mixed reviews from the commissioners and from the county delegation. It is the delegation that will ultimately make the decision.

Tuftonboro taxpayers support 8 percent of the county budget with the total value of their town just over $1 billion.

Bartlett and Wakefield, with the total property value in each town just under $1 billion dollars pay 7.5 and 7.2 percent of the county's budget, respectively.

Albany, Brookfield, Chatham, Eaton, Hale's Location, and Hart's Location each fund less than one percent of the county budget while Effingham pays 1.4 percent, Jackson 2.6, Madison 3.6, Ossipee 5.5, Sandwich 3.5, and Tamworth 2.4. These numbers were rounded for purposes of this article and total 98.4 percent. Exact percentages can be found at the NHDRA website.

Some town selectmen have also worked together in recent years to try to reduce costs for essential services, such as ambulance contracts and contracts for property assessing services by banding together with neighboring selectmen to form cooperatives.

Martin Lord & Osman
Salmon Press
Varney Smith
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