Just to follow up on yesterday’s tax rate post, comparing the school rate to others in the GWSD. btw/Ossipee has not yet been published.
The GWSD does pretty well by state averages, but the extraordinarily low school rates enjoyed by Wolfeboro and Tuftonboro have more to do with demographics than governance. A few years back we were whining about being a “donor town” under the statewide education mandate, while simultaneously enjoying a serendipitously low tax rate. Consider our waterfront property owners who continue to be subjected to the same thing as “donor taxpayers”.
You have to wonder what the priorities are for these taxpayers. Seems reasonable to assume that public safety, including fire protection for those million dollar homes, would be right up there, especially given that many are vacant for months at a time. You might think that we would put a little bit of that easy money into a modern public safety facility that would say “Here’s what you get for tens of thousands in taxes.”.
But they can wait ten years for that. The local newspaper tells how the roof fell down on a fire engine and put it out of service for a few months and the Selectmen are haggling over spending $250,000 to patch it up. Meanwhile they can read about how we spent more than that for a train station makeover for the benefit of the Chamber of Commerce and a Nursery School. How we want to spend millions of their money to restore another run down historic building, and how we plan to spend $7 million on a new library when libraries are shrinking everywhere else.
Do you think that might eventually effect the valuation of those properties? There is a fable about a golden goose…..
Comparing tax rates alone seems to suggest that you can justify any town expense based only on the tax rate compared to other towns. If the rate is low, compared to other towns, then things must be run efficiently. A home or business generates a certain requirement for services regardless of the value of the property. A home in Wakefield or New Durham of a specific size generates the same requirements for services as a similar size home in Wolfeboro. Although the value may be much less than the one in Wolfeboro, it needs to generate the same taxes. Hence, with equal efficliency of government, it would need to produce the same taxes as the higher valued home in Wolfeboro , but with less value, a higher tax rate would be needed to generate the same tax revenue. Although it is rather absurd, the obvious conclusion is that when taxes reach the point that Wolfeboro is a less desirable place to live, the value of property will be reduced and the tax rate rise to those of other towns in th comparison.