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Tax rates bring mixed news

Alton and New Durham show marked increases this year

November 03, 2009
REGION — The recent setting of Alton, Barnstead, and New Durham's respective tax rates has brought a mixture of good and bad news to local property owners.

According to information supplied by Town Administrator Russell Bailey, Alton's 2009 tax rate is up 53 cents, climbing from $11.30 (per $1,000 of valuation) to $11.83.

While a withdrawal from Alton's undesignated fund balance helped town officials keep their portion of the tax rate level-funded at $3, the local school rate shot up significantly, from $4.89 to $5.19 per $1,000.

The state school rate also showed a 14-cent increase, climbing from $2.14 to $2.28, while the county rate increased from $1.27 to $1.36.

Homeowners in Alton whose properties are valued at $100,000 will see a $53 increase in their tax bills due to the higher rate, while the impact on a $200,000 home will be $106, and the impact on a $300,000 home will be $159.

New Durham's 2009 tax rate, announced during Monday night's selectmen's meeting, also showed a marked increase over last year's figure, climbing from $18.99 to $20.24 per $1,000.

Town Administrator April Whittaker explained that much of the $1.25 increase stemmed from the local school tax, which rose from $8.14 to $9.23 due to the impact of the bond passed by Governor Wentworth School District voters last year to pay for renovations to the Kingswood complex.

According to Whittaker, a third of the 21-cent increase in the town's portion (which climbed from $6.11 to $6.32) was prompted by cuts in shared revenue from the state's rooms and meals tax, bringing the actual increase on the town's part to 14 cents.

By approving the withdrawal of $12,500 from the town's undesignated fund balance to off-set part of the increase, Whittaker said, the board of selectmen was able to shave 12 cents off of its initial estimate of the town's portion, which came in at $6.44.

The remainder of the increase in New Durham's total tax rate, she said, came from the county portion, which rose from $2.38 to $2.41.

The state school portion dropped from $2.36 to $2.28, she added.

New Durham's higher rate will add $125 to the tax bill for a $100,000 home; $250 to the bill for a $200,000 home; and $375 to the bill for a $300,000 home.

Rates drop in Barnstead

While the tax rates in neighboring towns shot up significantly, Barnstead's taxpayers were given a reprieve this year with the news that their rate had dropped by 25 cents.

Selectmen's secretary Karen Montgomery explained that the town's total tax rate fell this year from $18.39 to $18.14 per $1,000, due mainly to an increase in adequate education funding from the state that enabled the school district to lower its portion by 20 cents, from $11.16 to $10.96.

The town's portion, she said, also dropped three cents, from $3.71 to $3.68, while the state school portion dropped from $2.24 to $2.22.

The county portion, she said, remained flat at $1.28.

Residents whose properties are valued at $100,000 will see a $25 reduction in their 2009 tax bills, while those with $200,000 properties will see a decrease of $50, and those with $300,000 properties will see a $75 decrease.

Brendan Berube can be reached at 569-3126 or bberube@salmonpress.com

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