LACONIA — Benjamin Franklin said nothing is certain except death and taxes.
Next month, Laconia property owners will find out about their taxes, and for many, the bill will be going up.
The city has released a draft report – https://tinyurl.com/y8ncjluq – listing the value of properties. A property’s value is directly related to how much tax a property owner must pay. Many properties have gone up in value this year.
Last year’s value of all properties in the city was almost $2.4 billion. This year it is more than $2.54 billion, an increase of 6 percent.
But that doesn’t mean everybody’s property went up 6 percent. Some may have gone up 20 percent, while others did not go up at all, or even went down.
City Tax Assessor Deb Derrick said assessments are based on sales of property. Trends are examined in terms of style and location of homes. If lakefront homes are selling for more than the previous year, the assessed value of lakefront homes would go up accordingly.
Assessment increases can vary widely, even on the same street.
For example, on Dartmouth Street, nine homes increased in value 1 percent to 3 percent. Another nine homes on Dartmouth increased in value between 17 and 19 percent.
One home’s assessment went from $159,900 to $189,400, an increase of $29,500, or 18 percent.
The city sets a tax rate per $1,000 of assessed valuation. As a home increases in value, its taxes go up. The 2018 actual tax rate was $21.03 and the 2019 proposed tax rate is $21.47.
Assuming a tax rate of about $20, if a home increased in value by $30,000, the yearly tax bill would go up $600.
The draft report gives property owners an early chance to see how their assessment has changed, Derrick said.
“It is there for people to peruse as we look at finalizing our values,” she said. “Hopefully, people will look at it and ask any questions before the tax bill comes out next month. We might be able to smooth out any problems.”
City Manager Scott Myers said the total assessed value of properties in the city has been increasing.
“We’ve seen a bit of a turnaround the last two years,” Myers said. “We have a lot of different styles and classification of property. Not all move in the same direction and at the same rate.”
Real estates sales figures are a barometer of economic health.
“From everything I’ve seen, lakefront properties seem to have sold relatively quickly and at close to asking price,” he said. “That’s a sign of a stronger economy. People have more discretionary income and are able to take a step up in a home purchase.”