By THOMAS P. CALDWELL, LACONIA DAILY SUN
MEREDITH — Selectmen gave preliminary support to a plan to keep next year’s tax rate stable by using $250,000 of the town’s unexpended fund balance to reduce taxation.
The total balance remaining at the end of 2017 was $750,000, so after using a portion of the funds to offset proposed increases in this year’s operating budget to keep the municipal tax rate at $5 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, the town still would have $500,000 in the fund to help out next year.
“That would leave the fund balance healthier by that amount, and in light of the projects coming down, it would bring down the interest rate by having a larger fund balance,” said Chairman Ray Moritz.
Voters will be asked for money to build a new public works building this March, but the town will not have any bond payments on that project until next year. Also next year, the town will be looking to move forward with an addition to the Meredith Public Library.
Town Manager Phil Warren said that, if the entire $750,000 fund balance were used to reduce taxation, it would result in an estimated tax rate of $4.90 per $1,000 of valuation.
Whatever decision the board made, Warren said, they would revisit the matter in the fall when it comes time to set the tax rate. By then, the town will have a better idea of what the actual tax rate will be, and adjustments can be made. He brought it up now, he said, to get out ahead of the discussion.
The proposed budget stands at $14,861,652 an increase of $87,300, or .6 percent, from the 2017 appropriation of $14,774,352.
After applying the projected revenue, the amount of money to be raised by taxation would be $9,923,194 if the town uses $250,000 from the unexpended fund balance to offset taxes.