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Gilford finances show signs of improvement

September 02, 2009
Revenues are looking up for the town according to Finance Director Geoff Ruggles, who announced at the Board of Selectmen meeting last week that revenues not only show signs of improvement, but that the town may be able to hit the budget on the nose for 2009, something the Finance Department did not consider possible at the beginning of the year.

"There's not much new to report other than revenues do show signs of improving. Motor vehicle registrations continue to be strong," said Ruggles.

Ruggles said he wasn't sure if strong vehicle revenues could be attributed to Cash for Clunkers or the fact that many residents registered for vehicles early in order to avoid the increase in state fees, which was effective on Aug. 1. Glendale fees have continued to be strong as well and produced $9,000 more than last year, said Ruggles.

According to Ruggles, expenditures for the year continue to track well and are 7 percent under normal, as well as smooth tax collections.

"Everything is running smoothly, there are no dark clouds on the horizon. There is good news. We are above where we were last year (by about $700 or so) which makes for a good cash flow because of increased collections," said Ruggles.

Ruggles said the cash flow could also be contributed to the partial payment plans residents are participating in, where some pay on a monthly, and even weekly basis.

As for the quarterly report, he said not a lot has changed, although the department did go through an audit.

"Financially the numbers tied out great. Finances had no problem and expenditures went smoothly, although they were stricter on policies and procedures that we fell short on," he said. "Not all of our policies and procedures are documented in a formal policy. We will have that for next month's meeting."

Ruggles said property taxes and outstanding tax balances were also starting to look better for the town.

"The good news here is that the outstanding balance of 2009 taxes at the end of July is about $100,000 less than this time last year and only 6.1 percent of the total billed, meaning an almost 94 percent collection rate," said Ruggles.

Chair of the Board of Selectmen Gus Benavides inquired the average collection rate for New Hampshire as a whole, but Ruggles said he didn't know off the top of his head.

Benavides said he would be interested to see this average next meeting in order to assess how the Town of Gilford compares financially to other towns and residencies.

Martin Lord & Osman
Varney Smith
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