Tax rates to rise

MANCHESTER - Tax rates for Manchester residents will be edging upwards this year, driven by voter authorized increases in both educational and municipal spending, as well as an increase in education taxes enacted by the state legislature.

The total tax rate, which includes both school and town tax rates, will rise from $1.5651 per $100 of assessed property value for non-residential property, which includes business and commercial property as well as second homes, to $1.6674, more than a 10 cent increase. The homestead rate, which applies to primary residences, will rise from $1.6109 in the fiscal year which ended on June 30, 2014, to $1.6795 per $100 of assessed property value, or slightly under a 7 cent increase.

Overall, the combined homestead tax rate will rise about 4.3 percent, according to the town office.

Breaking it down further, the school tax rate will jump from $1.3452 last year for non-residential property to $1.4317 in the current fiscal year, while homestead or residential property taxes will rise from $1.3910 (per $100 of assessed property value) to $1.4438. The town tax rate, which was .2199 for both homestead and non-residential property in fiscal year 2014, will rise to .2357 for both categories in fiscal year 2015.

Earlier this year, the state legislature authorized a 4 cent hike in base school tax rates to 98 cents per $100 of assessed property value for homestead property. Lawmakers also voted through a seven and one-half cent increase, to $1.515 on non-residential property.

The lower local school tax rate is a result of the education funding formula under Act 68 and its common level of appraisal.

On the municipal side, total town spending financed by municipal taxes increased by about $166,000 in the new fiscal year which started on July 1, and reflects voter decisions made at March Town Meeting on the town budget and specially warned spending articles, said Town Manager John O'Keefe.

About $66,000 of that increase is due to general town spending increases. Another $30,000 is attributable to an offsetting cut in the use of reserve funds. The remainder were the result of specially warned articles voters authorized in March, he said.

The upshot of the changes in the tax rate for the owner of a home appraised at $200,000 will mean an increase in their tax bill of $137.20. Of that $105.60 is due to education spending for the Manchester School District and $31.60 is a result of municipal taxing and spending decisions.

O'Keefe said he wasn't surprised by the increases and that town officials had made it clear during Town Meeting that the result of adopting the town budget - which contained expenditures that the town officials had supported - along with approving the warned articles, would push the tax rate upwards.

"It's higher than I'd like to see," he said.


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