LACONIA — The city’s new tax rate is lower than the current levy, but most property owners will see their tax bills going up because of the impact of higher property values.

The new tax rate, as set by the state, is $18.86 per $1,000 of assessed value, which is 4.3% lower than the previous rate of $19.72, and 6.4% lower than $20.15 which was the figure the city had been projecting.

Offsetting the lower rate, however, is an average 7.88% increase in property values citywide.

Homeowners on average can expect to see an increase in their property tax in the neighborhood of 5%.

The latest revaluation showed that the assessed value of residential property increased 8.1%, meaning a house which had been valued at $200,000 is now valued $216,200. As a result, the property tax will go from $3,944 to $4,077 — an increase of 3.4%.

Some types of residential property posted increases in value greater than the average.

“Not all properties move at the same rate,” City Manager Scott Myers explained. “The demand was especially strong for waterfront, water-access, and condominiums.”

Residential condominiums increased in value by 11.4%, while waterfront properties went up about 15%, Myers estimated.

Owners of condos which had been valued at $200,000 would likely see a 6.5% increase in their tax bills.

Those with waterfront property will likely see their property tax go up 10%. A home on the water which was valued at $1 million is now likely calculated to be worth $1.15 million, resulting in the property tax going from $19,720 to $21,689.

The value of commercial and industrial property, and apartment buildings increased in the neighborhood of 3%, which means those owners should expect their property tax to remain unchanged or slightly lower than before.

In addition to higher real estate values, the city has seen significant increases in taxable property due to new construction or improvements to existing property. The net gain in construction value based on building permit reports show the city’s tax base has been increasing by more than $11 million a year for the past two years, according to Myers. Two years ago the city recorded $12 million in new construction value. The amount last year rose to $23.3 million, and from April 1 to Oct. 31 of this year, the amount recorded was $34.4 million.

The breakdown of the new tax rate is: $7.51 for municipal services, $8.53 for the city school tax, $1.83 for the state school tax, and 99 cents for the city’s share of county services.

The city employs an ongoing process of updating the assessed value of properties based on the sale price of real estate. The city looks at the value of about 20% of the property in the city every year. Myers said this so-called rolling-reval process avoids spikes in property taxes.

Myers noted that the calculations the city uses are based on the value of property as of April 1, so any property which sold after that date will not reflect the sale price in its assessment until next year.

Tax bills are due to be mailed out today (Tuesday). Payment is due by Dec. 23, according to Myers.

(1) comment

MariePauleW

If the taxable property base has about doubled, then why has the mil rate not decreased more? Yes, home values have certainly increased and the new assessments reflect that, but it’s totally wrong for property taxes to increase so much. Lower the mil rate and we all will pay our fair share. Doesn’t the increased property base help to reduce our high property taxes? Something’s not right here.

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