Gilford boosts assessments for waterfront properties

GILFORD — Taxpayers who own waterfront property will be facing higher tax assessments this year, a reflection of what is happening in the local real estate market.
Town Administrator Scott Dunn said Gilford does a “mini-evaluation” each year, reviewing 20 percent of the properties to be sure they are properly taxed.
“We also look at sales data to see if our values are accurately reflected, based on current sales,” Dunn said. “If we find categories of property that are not in sync, we’ll update the assessment as necessary.”
That is what happened with waterfront properties. Recent sales show that waterfront property is selling at higher prices, which makes all waterfront property more valuable. If a town does not adjust the assessments, those who recently purchased waterfront property would be paying higher taxes than the owner of a similar property where ownership has not changed.
Dunn said other categories of property also were affected, with most classes seeing higher values. Some property classes decreased in value.
“Overall, the town is reflective of the real estate market in general, which is on an upswing,” Dunn said.
The New Hampshire Constitution, Part 2, Article 6, requires property revaluations at least every five years to make sure buildings and land are taxed at their actual value. There is no state law to enforce that provision, but towns generally follow the directive for fair assessments.
A full revaluation, which reviews every property, is costly and time-consuming, so many towns, like Gilford, break the task into yearly partial updates. They do “pick-ups” to add new construction and major renovations to the tax base, and usually do statistical updates to adjust all property values to reflect current market values.
By doing 20 percent each year, the town will have reviewed every property at the end of five years.
“Our goal,” said Dunn, “is always to be as close to 100 of the fair market value as we can be, so in addition to doing 20 percent of the properties on the cycle, we look at specific sections to get them to 100 percent.”
An increased town assessment does not necessarily translate into higher taxes. If most properties are increasing in value, and spending remains the same, the tax rate will drop. If all properties rise at the same rate, the actual tax bill will be unchanged. When some classes of property rise significantly and others change by lesser amounts, the high-valued properties will see an increase, while the others may see a decreased tax bill.
Even if the net assessed valuation of the town increases, taxpayers may not see an equal reduction on their tax bill if municipal spending has increased since the previous year. All of the factors are dynamic, and each one may change the outcome. Additionally, when the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration sets the tax rate, it will factor in state and local education costs as well as the county appropriation.
“We try to adjust things that are out of whack every year so there is not a huge spike,” Dunn said.

Woman on bail for burglary charged with prowling

CENTER HARBOR — A 20-year-old local woman arrested by State Police in August was taken into custody again on Sept. 29 when a resident reported someone attempting to enter the home.
Jeanne Puglisi of 23 Tufts Lane was free on $10,000 personal recognizance bail from her August arrest when she allegedly tried to enter a home on Overlook Drive on Sept. 29.
Center Harbor Police Chief Mark Chase said he received a call at 11:18 p.m. on Friday after the homeowner called 911 to report someone turning the door handle in an attempt to get in. Chase responded to the call and, while checking the area, he heard a rustling in the bushes and found Puglisi hiding in the yard of an adjacent house.
He charged her with prowling, took her into custody without incident, and she was released on $1,000 PR bail.
The next night, a homeowner on Tufts Lane called police at 11:38 p.m. to report people in a parked car in the cul-de-sac. Officer Donald Welch responded with officers from the Meredith Police Department and they found Puglisi and a male in the vehicle. Puglisi was uncooperative and police determined that she was intoxicated, so they took her into protective custody. The unnamed male was sober and cooperative and was not charged, according to Chase.
Puglisi’s August run-in with the law occurred when a homeowner on Newman Road called police to say she had caught a burglar and locked her in the closet.
Court documents show that State Police Trooper James Callahan responded to the 3:23 a.m. call on Aug. 16, to find that Moultonborough officer Katherine Melanson had already arrived and had placed Puglisi in handcuffs in her cruiser.
In an interview with Callahan, Puglisi said she had come to “get her stuff” and entered through the unlocked garage, going into the living room. There the owner confronted her and locked her in the closet until police arrived.
State Police Sgt. Joseph Shackford also responded and found Puglisi’s vehicle parked in the road with the engine running. He said he could smell marijuana coming from the vehicle and could see a glass pipe and a grinder on the passenger’s seat of the vehicle.
Police charged her with the Class A felony of nighttime burglary and the Class B misdemeanor of possession of a controlled drug. That case is pending in Belknap County Superior Court.

Parade Road home damaged by fire

LACONIA — A fire did major damage to an old farmhouse at Pickerel Pond Road and Parade Road on Monday afternoon, firefighters said.

Nobody was home at the time of the fire and nobody was injured.

Parade Road (Route 106) was closed while firefighters battled the blaze.

The first call came in shortly after noon and the fire was under control at 1 p.m. Crews remained on the scene until 4 p.m.

There are no fire hydrants in the area, so tankers had to shuttle water from the nearest hydrant on Elm Street, more than 2 miles away.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

Laconia, Gilford, and Meredith firefighters were all dispatched to the scene after a report of smoke coming from the building.

10 02 Parade Road house fire

Fire damaged this home at Parade Road and Pickerel Pond Road in Laconia yesterday. The building was an old post-and-beam constructed farmhouse approximately 90 feet long. (Courtesy photo/Laconia Fire Department)