Hampstead may lower property taxes

March 16, 1995|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Sun Staff Writer

Hampstead officials plan to lower the town's property tax rate this year, and the council in nearby Manchester expects to maintain the current tax rate.

The councils in both towns met Tuesday night to review working budget proposals in their respective jurisdictions for the 1995-1996 fiscal year.

Hampstead may lower its tax rate from 47 cents per $100 assessed valuation, to 45 cents, officials said.

The town can afford to decrease the tax rate because the same development that's crowding Hampstead's schools and backing up roads also is bringing in more revenue.

Mayor C. Clinton Becker said a lower tax rate would raise the same amount of revenue or more next year because of the development of new homes that add to the tax base and the increased property values on existing homes.

Hampstead's general fund revenues are expected to be $940,434 in fiscal 1996, a 16 percent increase over the $809,507 budgeted this year.

The town also is keeping expenses down, Mr. Becker said.

"Efficient management of the town are the best words" to describe why expenses are under control, he said.

Lowering the tax rate by 2 cents per $100 of assessed valuation would produce a "constant yield," the same dollar amount of property taxes raised as the current year, Mayor Becker said.

But he said the town expects to raise more tax money because of additional growth that the state doesn't count in its formula to project the constant yield.

This year's property tax revenue was $351,213. The town expects to raise $389,132 next year. Because more people are moving there, the town's share of state income tax revenue will rise by $30,000.

The draft of Manchester's budget proposal was presented to council members for the first time Tuesday night. It was based on maintaining the tax rate of 46 cents per $100 assessed valuation.

Because about 35 new homes are expected to be built, and because property values are rising, officials expect that the tax rate would bring in $209,700, a 6.81 percent increase over the $196,327 generated by the tax this year.

Acting Town Manager David Warner said he expects Manchester's total general fund revenue to be $692,222 next year, a 5.34 percent increase over the current $657,111.

The Manchester budget also proposes a 4 percent cost-of-living raise for town employees, but no new positions unless council members suggest and approve them in the next month.

Manchester's Town Council will meet again for the second half of its budget workshop at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday to discuss general fund expenses.

In addition, Councilman Christopher D'Amario and the utilities commission he chairs will meet to set water and sewer rates for next year. The water and sewer funds should be self-supporting, Mr. Warner said.

Mr. Warner said he hopes to have the budget ready for approval as early as the April 11 council meeting.

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