Tax Rate posted – up 1.5%

The Department of Revenue Administration posted Wolfeboro’s 2013 tax rate today.  $12.83 – up 1.5% from last year’s $12.64.

Here’s the breakdown:

Town School State Ed County Total
2012 4.71 4.48 2.40 1.05 $12.64
2013 4.73 4.53 2.46 1.11 $12.83
Change 0.42% 1.12% 2.50% 5.71% 1.50%

As you can see, the town rate increased only 2 cents, the local school district 5 cents, while State Ed and County both each increased 6 cents.

Overall property valuations decrease about $8.5 million or…  0.42%.  If valuations had stayed up, the town rate would not have increased at all.  So in addition to the legal fees and refunds that resulted from the valuation lawsuit, the abatement has have driven up the tax rate.

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7 Responses to Tax Rate posted – up 1.5%

  1. Bob Tougher says:

    It’s not the whole story to say that tax abatements have solely driven up the Town tax rate. The town wide assessment is only one component of the tax rate. In March we (as voters) approved over $1.3 million in cash expenditures for capital reserve accounts (rolling stock), building and infrastructure repairs and employee raises, on top of approximately $11.6 million in the operating budget (excluding Enterprise funds). The Town portion of the tax increase for a house assessed at $300 thousand is $6, or the equivalent of one glass of house wine at any local restaurant. I think the Town officials did a great job on the budget!

  2. suzanne ryan says:

    What is of concern is the steady decrease in propery assement values and that little to know
    new growth/new building is happening…When I brought this to the attention of the BOS the then
    Chair stated it was only pennies ..
    If you do a 5 or 10 year overview… I believe you will see a marked % town tax increase

  3. wolfeblog says:

    OK Bob, let’s do the math. Take a look at the DOR tax rate calculation worksheet on the town website. The approved Town/City tax effort is $9,614,862. If you divide that by the 2013 town wide valuation of $$2,033,423,425 you get $4.73 – the town portion of the 2013 tax rate. If you divide that same tax effort by last year’s town wide valuation of $2,043,252,747 you get $4.71 – last year’s town portion of the tax rate. So all things equal, the town tax rate would have stayed the same without the tax abatements.

    So my point is that whatever the town does with the budget, it affects only the town portion of the tax rate. When the town wide valuation changes, it affects all of the components of the tax rate. So if your valuation on that $300,000 house didn’t go down, the millions in abatements will cost you a few more glasses of wine in the school, state ed, and most of all county portions.

    In the future, you could let people know that when you say “I think the town officials did a great job on the budget”, you are patting yourself on the back.

  4. Bob Tougher says:

    You’re not seeing the whole story, Bob. Two very important components of the tax rate are the revenue stream, which has gone up over the last year, and the surplus from prior year(s), which are also factored into the rate.

    I share Susan’s concerns, which I frequently express on the committee level to keep projects reasonable, but in observing real estate sales over the last year or so I find homes to be selling at much closer to assessed value than in prior years during the recession. The groundswell of abatement requests have come from the drop in full market value during the recession and after the 2010 assessment. I firmly believe that condition will improve and the town wide assessment will stabilize.

    I consider myself more of a volunteer who oversees the town budget rather than a town official, Bob, and I believe that the Department Heads, the Town Manager and the BOS do a great job in putting the budget together. There is very little spending over and above the mandatory lines in the budget. In addition to that the Town has come up with clean audits every year I’ve been doing this.

  5. wolfeblog says:

    I know what goes into the tax rate Bob. Gees, read the original post. I said the town tax rate ONLY went up 2 cents. I said that was attributable entirely to the decreased town-wide valuation. What do you want kudos because it didn’t go up? Is that the new normal? Truth is, 25 cents of the town tax rate is the budget for the RIB lawsuit, which is the same as last year. So yea, I kinda expected the town tax rate to go down 25 cents based on what Mr. Owen and everyone else was telling me last year. I’m not fixated on taxes. I was just reporting the new rate and pointing out the most significant factor that drove the overall increase. Let’s move on.

  6. Bob Tougher says:

    Bob,
    Not one penny of the tax rate is going to the RIB lawsuit, this year or next. The litigation is budgeted through the Sewer Enterprise Fund, which will drive our rates up if we are unsuccessful in the lawsuit.

    Getting back to the tax rate, I am very impressed with the numbers in the school district, as well as our own. I was at this year’s School Deliberative Session and I believe the School Board has done a great job with their budget over the last 4 years. It’s no accident that Wakefield and Middleton have expressed interest in sending their kids to our secondary schools.

    I’m a little surprised that the County rate went up .06, but I haven’t read anything about their budget yet.

  7. wolfeblog says:

    I did not know that. Seems to me that the policy was that capital improvements to the sewer system was funded by all of the voters and the operational costs are borne by the users. I’m pretty sure the RIB bonds are being paid by everybody. I have to wonder how the ratepayers would absorb a million+ in legal fees. Also, I have to wonder if the intention is to apply any part of any award to reducing the rates, beyond reimbursement for these lawyer bills. Sure wish I had a septic system.

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