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Northern Pass releases town-by-town tax impact table


Stratford, Northumberland, Columbia to see biggest impacts in Coös



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Northern Pass Transmission’s most recent estimates of the property tax impact of the planned transmission lines and facilities when the system is in full operation, as of Feb. 3, The document prepared by Dr. Lisa Shapiro, chief economist of the business and litigation law firm of Gallagher, Callahan and Gartrell, of Concord, notes that property taxes paid during construction are not included in the reported numbers and actual payments and actual tax reduction will depend on final route, final investment values, actual community expenditures, education funding formula, and other tax base changes. (click for larger version)
February 16, 2011
MANCHESTER — According to a recently released report, construction of the proposed $1.1 billion Northern Pass Transmission (NPT) would result in a significant increase in local, county, and state property tax revenues.

In estimates formulated using 2009 values, the NPT reports that the town receiving the highest tax benefit of all towns the project crosses, would be cash strapped Stratford. There the tax rate impact is projected at $6 per thousand dollars of assessed valuation. The second highest tax benefit would be in Franklin, where a large conversion station is planned. That town's taxes are estimated to be reduced by around $5.60 per thousand.

Other Coös towns expected to see among the largest tax impacts from the project include Northumberland, whose tax rate is could drop by around $3.85 per thousand according to the estimate. Also according to the report, residents in Columbia could see a tax rate reduction of $3.50 per thousand. The remainder of the towns impacted are estimated to see reductions ranging from $.10 per thousand in Lincoln, Holderness and Bridgewater, to $2.80 per thousand in Deerfield.

The NPT is a k140-mile High-Voltage Direct Current line from Pittsburg to Franklin and a 40-mile Alternating Current radial to Deerfield.

When the project was first detailed, however, Public Service of New Hampshire only released county-by-county estimates. Now the same economist — Dr. Lisa Shapiro, Chief Economist of the business and litigation law firm of Gallagher, Callahan and Gartrell, of Concord — has released a table, based on 2009 values and the preferred route option as now proposed. The table gives additional information useful to voters facing town meeting warrant articles that ask whether or not they oppose the proposed High-Voltage Direct Current transmission line project.

Shapiro emphasizes that the figures are estimates that would only apply after construction is completed some five or more years from now if it is permitted.

The dollar figures also take into account that some expenses of these 10 host towns in Coös would likely rise when more revenues are available and also that some voters would opt for property tax relief. The same is true for the county figures, although it would be county commissioners and delegation of state representatives to make these choices.

The estimated statewide utility education property taxes paid to the educational trust fund are based on $6.60 per thousand in property value. Any potential reduction in state aid due to increased valuation is not taken into account.

Any potential reductions or increases in other property values as a result of NPT are also not covered.

The total equalized valuation is for 2009 and includes utilities and railroads, equalized to current market values, provided by the state Department of Revenue Administration annual reports.

The estimated figures show NPT increasing Stratford's total valuation by the 53 percent, the highest number in Coös. Columbia would be by 48 percent; Clarksville 32 percent; Northumberland 28 percent; Whitefield 19 percent; and Stewartstown 16 percent. In the remaining four towns — Colebrook, Pittsburg, Dalton, and Lancaster — the figure is 10 percent or less.

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