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Joyce Endee

Ossipee tax rate set

Selectmen consider non-profit requests

November 29, 2012
OSSIPEE — The tax rate is set and the bills are set to be mailed, just in time for the payments to be due by the end of the year.

The Ossipee property tax rate took quite a jump this year, up a combined $1.29 to $17.08 compared to the 2011 base rate of $15.79. The breakdown in the rate is: town tax, $5.73; county tax, $1.04; local school tax, $8.05; and state school tax, $2.26. The 2011 breakdown was: town tax, $5.21; county tax, 94 cents; local school tax, $7.11; and state school tax, $2.53.

Depending on which fire precinct the property is in determines how much additional taxpayers fork over for that service. In West Ossipee, the rate is an additional $2.56, Ossipee Corner $2.02, and Center Ossipee $1.34 per $1,000 of assessed property valuation.

The bottom line is that the total tax rate for 2012 in West Ossipee is $19.64, Ossipee Corner $19.10, and Center Ossipee $18.42. With all Carroll County towns reporting, taxpayers paying the highest rate in the county are in the Conway Village Fire District at $21.32, West Ossipee Precinct at $19.64, Eidelweiss section of Madison at $19.53, Ossipee Corner Precinct at $19.10 and Tamworth at $19.00.

Budget time

At the March 2012 town meeting, Ossipee voters agreed to give a combined $119,424 in property tax money to 19 local non-profits that provide, among other things, afterschool programs, heating fuel assistance, medication assistance, teen mentoring, visiting nurse services, food, day care, summer camp scholarships, and meals for senior citizens. The groups are back again this year and selectmen heard from their representatives at their Nov. 26 weekly meeting. Most are asking for level funding, hesitant to ask for more "because of the economy." Ossipee Main Street Program and its request for $9,500 drew the most questions from the board and the audience, with Selectman Harry Merrow trying to figure out exactly what services the town receives for the $9,500 and what that group plans to do in the coming year. When he asked if the group will be offering any additional services beyond the current ones in the coming year, program representative Pat Jones said, "We have a hard time keeping up with the programs we already have. We're awful busy."

Center Ossipee Village was designated as a Main Street Community several years ago with the goal of promoting current and potential new businesses in the Village and making infrastructure and beautification improvements. Most notably, the group's major accomplishments include the cleanup of a site that was renovated into the Main Street park and the renovation of the building that houses the program's headquarters. The mostly volunteer program (it has a paid part-time director) has relied heavily on its volunteers and there is a need for more help, said Jones. The board membership has dwindled down to five members. The program is also relying more heavily on financial support from town taxpayers in addition to the $9,500 requested at town meeting. It was revealed last year that the selectmen have been approving the town paying other bills for the non-profit program including their heat and water/sewer payments. Those payments do not appear clearly in the town's financial accounting to clarify that the payments were made on behalf of the program.

Merrow said when the Freight House renovation is complete, the plan is to move the Main Street Office out of their current location and into the Freight House for the winter to help cut costs.

The Main Street Program organizes the Beech River Run, Ossipee Farmers Market held in West Ossipee, Rubber Ducky Race in West Ossipee, and has a committee that has nearly finalized the decision on which gazebo to purchase for the Main Street park so fundraising can begin for that project.

Martin Lord & Osman
Salmon Press
Varney Smith
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