Taxes in Gilmanton drop by almost 10%

GILMANTON — No property taxpayers in the eleven municipalities in Belknap County fared better in 2013 than those of Gilmanton where the tax burden fell by 9.4-percent and the tax rate by 9.7-percent.

The amount to be raised by taxes decreased in only one other town — Alton — and then by just 0.6-percent, while the property tax rate decreased in three other towns — Alton, Gilford and Barnstead — by 1.8-percent , 0.8-percent and 0.3-percent respectively. Everywhere else both the tax commitment and tax rate increased.

Meanwhile, in Gilmanton the amount to be raised by taxes was lowered by $1,047,240, from $11,142,077 to $10,094,837, and the tax rate by $2.27, from $23.42 to $21.15. These figures represent a ten-percent reduction in property tax bills.

Both the town and the school district contributed to lightening the tax burden. Town Administrator Arthur Capello said that the Board of Selectmen, with assistance from department heads, trimmed the operating budget from $3.9-million in 2012 to $3.6-million in 2013, a reduction of almost nine-percent. He said that the capital outlays were reduced, along with expenditures for maintenance and elections. At the same time, revenues from sources other than property taxes, especially motor vehicle registrations, exceeded projections while payment plans were introduced to enable taxpayers to pay a portion of their bills and keep properties on the tax rolls.

School Superintendent John Fauci said that a mix circumstances enabled the school district to return more than $900,000 to the town. He estimated that adjustments in tuition paid to the Gilford School District for high school students and special education costs represented about three-quarters of the difference between budgeted appropriations and actual expenditures while reduced energy and staffing costs accounted for the balance.

Capello noted that the total assessed valuation of the town rose $2.1-million, from $478.4-million to $480.5-million, or by 0.4-percent, which marginally contributed to the decrease in the property tax rate. However, he noted that the assessed valuation is approximately six-percent above market prices, which will require property values to be adjusted downward in 2014.