Goffstown Shows the Way

By S.D. Plissken | August 21, 2018

Mr. Bailey rose to speak again during the Public Comments portion of Monday night’s Board of Selectmen’s (BOS) meeting. His subject was again the erroneous over-taxation in the 2017 2nd half tax bill.

The BOS has never given any explanation, exact figures, or proposed solutions to this problem.

Mr. Bailey provided the BOS with copies of the following letter sent out with Goffstown’s first half tax invoice (July 2018). (Milton did not make a similar correction or explanation in its first half tax invoice).


[Town Seal] Town of Goffstown

TOWN OFFICES

16 MAIN STREET, GOFFSTOWN, NH 03405

Dear Goffstown Taxpayers,

Enclosed is your property tax bill for the first half of the property tax year 2018. You may notice a significant reduction in property taxes due, compared to the previous year’s tax rate. There is a unique situation this year which we aim to clarify with this letter.

As you may be aware, the audit of the Goffstown School District 2017 fiscal year identified reporting errors which led to improper retention of unreserved funds above the limits authorized for contingencies under RSA 198:4=b. The accumulation of funds between 2011 and 2017 amounted to a total of $9, 811, 451 which will be reclassified in July at the end of the current School District fiscal year. Without any action, this reclassification of School funds normally would have reduced the amount of taxes to be raised for local education beginning with the 2018 2nd half tax bill in November.

The Board of Selectmen successfully petitioned the State Department of Revenue Administration to adjust the 1st half tax rate in anticipation of this release of funds. The revised tax rate for the 1st half of 2018 is shown below, compared to 50% of the final 2017 tax rate.

[Here there appeared a table showing the County, Local School, State School, Town, and Total tax rates for “50% of 2017 Rate” and “1st Half of 2018 Rate.” The Local School rate of $7.315 in the 50% column has been adjusted downwards to $4.125 in the 1st Half column. That would be a drop of $3.19 per thousand]

The impact of this release of funds continues over the next tax cycle as well. The rate for the 2018 2nd half tax bill will not be determined until the fall, but it is expected to be similar. The 2019 1st half tax bill will increase and approach previous levels as cash flows stabilize. We expect conditions to normalize by the 2019 2nd half tax bill.

If you escrow your property taxes, you may want to notify your financial institution of these anticipated changes. If you are planning to sell or buy property in Goffstown in the next 12 months, you may also want to consult a real estate professional regarding tax proration.

If you have any questions about your taxes or the fund balance issue, please feel free to contact us or visit the Town and School websites at www.Goffstown.com or www.Goffstown.k12.nh.us

Sincerely,

[Signatures of]

Adam Jacobs, Town Administrator

Brian Dalke, Superintendent


Mr. Bailey’s comments cannot be transcribed here. That is because they do not appear in the video record of the meeting. There is a short (1:31) section in which Ms. Virginia Long spoke of an upcoming volunteer cleanup on Casey Road. Mr. Bailey then began to speak –

Glenn Bailey. You have before you a letter issued by the Town of Goffstown and there are more on the sideboard if people … [end of recording].

His full remarks are not included in the published record. That second section is missing. There was a technical problem at that point.

The third section commences at the beginning of the remarks of the next commenter, Mr. Larry Brown, who spoke of the upcoming pie contest.

In any event, Mr. Bailey highlighted the Goffstown letter’s second paragraph as an example of “transparency” in that the Goffstown officials had explained that an error had been committed, as well as describing its scope and size. He went on to highlight the third and fourth paragraphs as examples of “accountability” in that the Goffstown officials had explained in some detail how they proposed to return the money that had been over-collected through their error.

He further remarked that Milton officials, who have spoken often of the importance and virtue of “transparency” and “accountability,” had never displayed any at all in the matter of the 2017 taxes. He said that they had forfeited their right to employ those terms.

References:

Milton Board of Selectmen. (2018, August 20). Milton Board of Selectmen Meeting, August 20, 2018. Part 1. Retrieved from www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtYixUTRFa8

Milton Board of Selectmen. (2018, August 20). Milton Board of Selectmen Meeting, August 20, 2018. Part 2. Missing from the record, due to technical difficulties.

Milton Board of Selectmen. (2018, August 20). Milton Board of Selectman Meeting, August 20, 2018. Part 3. Retrieved from www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfPichonEYQ

Author: S.D. Plissken

I thought he'd be taller.

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