With snow in the forecast it looks like an early winter once again. The good news is that at least this year it didn’t snow on Halloween. This update contains information on the new tax rate and how it effects you and my thoughts on a structural change in how the city will supplement expenses at the golf course, arena and solid waste funds.
I hope this note finds you well, anticipating lots of turkey with all the fixings and deserts that we enjoy on Thanksgiving. And as always you can contact at: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org or 224-6086 - Allan
It’s time to talk taxes and assessments again. Recently we received two reports one regarding assessed value and the other on the tax rate. So here goes.
There are two ways to look at the report on assessed values of properties in the city. One is real growth (new development or renovations or upgrades to properties) the other is market rate. How much your house’s value changed just because houses are selling for more or less then the previous year.
Real growth city wide (including residential, commercial/industrial and utilities) is a little more than $27 million in a city with a total value of just over $4 billion or 0.67%.
The change in market value of properties from last year (including real growth and market value) is an increase of little over $150.5 million or 3.74%.
Some more number. Residential properties increased in value 4.70% (including both real and market values) for an increase of $97.8 million.
Commercial/industrial properties saw an increase of $25 million or 1.46%
The report further breaks down manufactured homes, condominiums and the change of value in the fifteen residential neighborhoods used for tax purposes.
In real value (approximately $27 million) the city portion of the tax rate which is $9.90 this year would increase the amount of new taxes collected by $267,000. However when you look at market and real growth combined, the city will see $1.485 million dollars in additional tax revenue from last year.
The values I have cited above does not include the school, county or state education portions of your tax bill.
So this is the important part, how does this effect your property taxes. Here are the new rates which do include the city, school, county and state portions:
For Concord $28.19 per thousand and Penacook $33.60. While the tax rates went down slightly in both communities from last year, this is not the full story. You need to also add in the current assessed value of your property.
Another new number. The increase in market rate assessments for residential properties (not including real growth) is 3.07%. No one house is average so your taxes will be different depending on how much or how little the value of your property changed.
Here’s an example: A house valued at $250,000 last year will now be valued at $257,675 (3.07% increase in market value) in both Concord and Penacook. For a house valued at $257,675, this is what you will pay this year in taxes:
Concord property owners with a tax rate of $28.19 will pay $7,263.86 for the year, an increase of $203.86 from last year.
Penacook with a tax rate of $33.60 will pay $8,657.88, an increase of $177.88.
Here is a link to find the current value of your property (here). If you don’t have an account it is easy to set one up. You can also go to the assessing office and look up your property value. To determine your tax liability for the year divide the value of your property by 1,000 and multiply by the tax rate either for Concord or Penacook.
Okay that’s enough numbers for now. A little about November’s city council meeting.
I continue to have concerns that so much of our agenda is listed under consent. Items under the consent agenda are in many cases housekeeping or routine approvals for resolutions, reports, donations, referrals, etc. I believe even these items should be identified with a short explanation before we vote on them.
This month there were 26 items on the consent agenda. Unless a councilor requests that an item be pulled for discussion and unless you take the time to read the agenda, there is no public acknowledgment of what it is we are approving.
This month I had two items pulled. One to make a brief comment on a report from the police and fire department on substance abuse statistics and the other on a change in how we classify a number of city funds.
For a number of years our enterprise funds have not been able to generate sufficient income to cover their expenses. The funds that were designated to be reclassified were listed in the consent agenda, under reports, item #21. The enterprise funds listed were the Arena, Golf Course and Solid Waste funds.
Enterprise funds are designed to be self sustaining through revenues generated by user fees. These funds were to be reclassified as Special Revenue funds, which would then be subsidized by General Funds for both capital projects and day to day operational expenses as necessary.
While these funds in the past have received support from the General Fund, the change to a Special Revenue fund acknowledges that that these funds are no longer able to pay for their expenses through user fees.
I believe this to be a substantial change and have requested in the past that before we make a determination on reclassifying enterprise funds, that we hear what your thoughts are on the use of tax payer dollars to support these funds.
I made a motion to have a public hearing at our January meeting, to hear from you, before voting on this change. Unfortunately there was no second and the only discussion revolved around how important it is to preserve assets like the golf course and the arena.
I too believe these are assets, but that is not the point. We are asking for a substantial change in how we fund these accounts, potentially using millions of dollars of your taxes over the next ten years. I believe it is important to hear from you.
The attached file are the comments I made to the council at our November meeting.