November 10, 2017TUFTONBORO — The Tuftonboro Board of Selectmen set the tax rate for the remainder of 2017 during its Monday, Nov. 6 meeting.
Administrative Assistant Diane Falcey produced a chart that stated the 2016 end of year undesignated fund balance (UFB) as $1,494,245 and a list showing how the tax rate would vary depending on the amount of that balance applied to reduce the 2017 tax rate.
Taking the Department of Revenue Administration guideline that towns retain 17 – 25 percent of total gross appropriations in the UFB, Selectman Chip Albee suggested applying $300,000 to offset taxes, but Selectman Bill Marcussen suggested going for $350,000 and the board unanimously agreed.
Applying that amount from the fund to offset taxes will leave $1,144,245 and establish the 2017 tax rate at $10.77 (per $1,000 valuation), a 3.26 percent overall increase.
The tax rate reflects the combination of municipal, county, local education and state education taxes, which are respectively: 2.73, 1.38, 4.23, and 2.43. Each category shows a reduction, with the exception of local education, which was 3.51 in 2016 and is set at 4.23 for 2017.
In discussion of the undesignated fund balance, Marcussen noted that it pays the bills until the tax revenues come in. It grows every year "if we are conservative about revenue estimation" and it accumulates from underspent budgets. Albee said a popular canard is that if there is unspent money in a budget it will be spent because it's there, but experience in Tuftonboro shows that its department heads are frugal. Unspent money goes into the general fund.
Chairman Lloyd Wood singled out Clay Gallagher and his cost savings and increased revenues for praise.
Board members recalled the year establishment of the county rate was delayed. Revenues were overestimated, leaving a budget shortfall and a supplemental budget had to fill the gap.
Albee commented that Tuftonboro has one of the lowest tax rates in the state.