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Tilton tax rates rise as valuation dips

October 28, 2009
TILTON —Tilton will see a 7.6 percent increase, translating into a tax rate of $20.92 per thousand in the coming year.

Tilton Town Financial Officer Tim Pearson presented the 2010 tax rate to selectmen last Thursday. There are a few reasons for this increase, Pearson said, one being the 4.6 percent decline in the total town valuation that was recently completed.

"As the valuation rate goes down, the tax rate then goes up," he said.

He also cited the lost shared revenues from the state and higher retirement rates that the Town must now contribute to for its employees as other factors for the increase.

Another reason, he said, was that the town is now footing the entire bill for the Lochmere sewer project, which was originally supposed to receive funds from the Department of Transportation to aid in the cost. Pearson said that when the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act money became available, DOT was busy looking for shovel-ready projects to be approved for the stimulus monies. In doing so, Pearson said, other projects already in the works were pushed aside. This left towns like Tilton footing the entire bill for projects that were underway.

Chairman Katherine Dawson said she felt the time had come for Tilton and the other nine or 10 communities who had their funding reneged to stand up and recoup the state money they were promised.

"It's our taxpayers who are getting hurt. This has got to stop," she said.

Selectmen voted to send a letter to the town's Sewer Commission to suggest they work together in getting this money back from the state. Town Administrator Joyce Fulweiler suggested that selectmen might also team up with the other communities whose projects went unfunded and, as a group, approach the state about the matter. The idea was taken under advisement and the letter will be drafted to the Sewer Commission to begin working on an approach to DOT.

Pearson also reported he has been compiling a tri-fold brochure that he asked the board and Fulweiler to examine. The brochure explains how tax rates are set and what factors contribute to their rise or decline. Once Fulweiler and the board approve of what he has compiled, Pearson said he will take the brochure back to the DRA for a final look, then make it available to taxpayers in Tilton. Dawson also asked that he make it available on the town Web site to be downloaded and viewed.

Matin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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