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No, the sky is not falling because of Gilford tax rates; look at the facts

  • Published in Letters

To The Daily Sun,

The sky is falling! Or so certain members of Gilford’s Budget Committee would again have you think. Every year, they raise the alarm about runaway taxes, with a combination of exasperation and anger in their voices so sincere that it’s hard to imagine they could be so utterly wrong. But they are. Here’s some factual data (not just rhetoric) to put things in perspective: Gilford’s overall tax rate actually declined 7 percent between 2011 ($18.55) and 2017 ($17.26). It’s now in the lowest/best 17th percentile in New Hampshire. The school’s tax rate declined from $9.35 to $8.86 during the same period. Both the school’s as well as the overall rates are on track to fall again this year, primarily due to the School Board’s recommended -1 percent budget as compared to last year.

But surely we have the Budget Committee to thank for keeping rates low? Wrong again. Over the same 2011-2017 period, the Budget Committee reduced the combined town/school budgets by roughly $440,000 out of $255 million in recommended budgets. That’s only 0.17 percent!
So, to any residents who are concerned about how tax rates “grew to be so large,” as Gilford’s BC chairman stated in his Jan. 9 letter to the editor, please consider this a fact check. And I again plead with the BC chairman to please stop perpetuating such falsehoods. Facts, as they say, are stubborn things. The truth is that Gilford’s selectmen and School Board, respectively, have consistently been excellent stewards of our tax dollars and deserve our thanks.

I thank all BC members for their efforts as well, despite the fact that some efforts of a few (e.g., slandering school officials and issuing threats of litigation) are misguided. If the BC truly wanted to save taxpayers money, its members would consider offering free legal/technical advice, or perhaps even holding fundraisers in support of the town/school, RATHER THAN ADDING $20K OF LEGAL FUNDS into the budget to make it easier to sue the very people who work diligently each year to keep the tax rate so low. (Yes, sadly, the BC voted to do just that last week.)

Fred Butler
Gilford