Gilford tax rate drops almost 2 percent

GILFORD — The New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration has set the 2015 property tax rate at $17.97 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, a decrease of 33 cents, or 1.8 percent, below the 2014 rate of $18.30.

The owner of a property valued at $300,000 will see a $99 decrease from last year's tax bill, going from $5,490 to $5,391.

The amount to be raised by property taxes increased by $741,657, or 2.5 percent, from $28,549,833 to $29,291,490. The total assessed valuation grew by $59,889,377, or 3.8 percent, from $1,571,339,584 to $1,631,228,961.

The town tax increased from $4.96 to $5,14 while the local school tax decreased from $9.35 to $9.00, the state education tax from $2.53 to $2.45 and the county tax from $1.46 to $1.38.

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Center Harbor tax rate up 4.7 percent (77).

CENTER HARBOR — The New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration has set the 2016 property tax rate at $14.38, an increase of 65 cents, or 4.7 percent, over the 2014 rate of $13.73.

The owner of a property assessed at $300,000 will see a tax bill of $4,314, up by $195 from last year's $4,119.

The amount to be raised by property taxes increased by $274,735, or 5.2 percent, from $$5,226,419 to $5,501,152. The total assessed valuation rose by $1,922,511, or 0.5 percent, from $383,956,548 to $385,879,059.

The town tax increased from $5.54 to $5.65 and the local school tax from $4.12 to $4.77 while the state education tax decreased from $2.60 to $2.53 and the county tax from $1.47 to $1.43.

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A new flag for the city of Laconia?

LACONIA — The city flag dominates the wall above the City Council table and hangs limply from a pole in the Mayor's office, but has never flown in a fresh breeze, lingering as a forlorn curiosity rather than serving as a proud standard.

When the City Council met last week, Bree Henderson of Polished and Proper Barber Shop and Shave Parlor suggested designing and flying a new flag that would enhance the identity of the city. She said that the existing flag dates from 1965, when it was designed by a high school student from Gilford. Apart from the facsimile hung on the wall of the city council chamber and the flag hanging in a seldom used office, she said that the standard of the city is all but invisible.

"My concern: Is it useful?" Henderson told the councilors, explaining that a well-designed flag would serve as a symbol that would "identify the city in a positive way." As an example, she offered the city of Chicago, where the city flag is not only prominently displayed, but also appears on all sorts of items like coffee cups, T-shirts, keychains, tote bags and so on. "A good design gets borrowed," she said, explaining that the symbol of the city becomes a widely distributed element of its culture.

Later Henderson said that if the council chooses to proceed with the project, a committee should be convened to establish some guidelines for the design of a new flag. She referred to a website — "Good Flag, Bad Flag" — which list five principles for designing a flag: keep it simple, use meaningful symbolism, limit the colors to three, omit lettering or seals and be distinctive.

The council took no action, but Henderson, who serves on the Downtown Tax Increment Financing Advisory Committee, said that she intends to pursue the issue.

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