November 20, 2018WOLFEBORO — The Wolfeboro Board of Selectmen has passed its $27.3 million 2019 operating budget on to the Budget Committee (Bud Com) for review last week after numerous meetings throughout the fall among board members, department heads and Bud Com members.
In doing so, Chairman Linda Murray commented, "We've spent a huge amount of time wrestling with this budget."
It is now the committee's turn to give it final scrutiny before sending its recommendations to the Board.
Town Manager Becky Merrow said with inflation close to three percent, it's a difficult budgeting year. The budget in its present state represents a 6.52 percent increase over last year.
In another finance related matter, Merrow called the board's attention during the Nov. 7 board meeting to the desire of long time treasurer John Burt to retire from that elected position. In the interest of continuity, she suggested that the Board immediately appoint a deputy town treasurer to receive training from Burt. Because it is an elected position the person would need to be a resident of the town.
As luck would have it, Murray said that as she made inquiries on Election Day among residents she thought might suit the position, she struck pay dirt in a conversation with Wolfeboro's former Finance Director Scott Smith, now Finance Director for Somersworth, who indicated an interest in serving. Smith lives in Wolfeboro, knows its finances, and is familiar with the requirements of the post.
Board members responded positively to the idea of Smith talking further with Burt, with Selectman Brad Harriman commenting that if he is willing to take on those duties, it would offer a smooth transition.
Residents should have their second tax bills of the year in hand soon. It is assessed using the new tax rate mulitplied by the property's assessed value less any payments made on the first bill.
The 2018 tax rate is $15.80 per $1,000 in assessed valuation, a 5.47 percent increase over the previous year. It includes the town's total tax responsibility, which breaks down as: Municipal, $5.98; Local Education, $6.25; State Education, $2.26; and County, $1.31.
The 2017 tax rate was $14.98. In context, the Lakes Region average was $17.05 and the statewide average was $ 22.44.