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Old 07-12-2017, 04:21 AM
 
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So we are planning on retiring to NH in 2 or 3 years and have been checking out different towns. We are going to North Conway for vacation and will check out some towns while there. One of the towns is Middleton and just noticed that property taxes went up 26% from 2015 to 2016. That is a very, very large jump. Anyone know why and is this common for New Hampshire towns to make this kind of leap? We live in Mass so high taxes are not new but would not want that kind of surprise. Thoughts?
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Old 07-12-2017, 05:43 AM
KCZ
 
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Two possible reasons:

The town just had all their properties reassessed, and the valuations all went down, so the rate went up, and the tax bills are unchanged. This may be a component of the rate increase, but is very unlikely to account for it all.

The school system budget went up, either due to building renovations/construction, a new teachers' contract, or more students in the schools. School budgets are the single greatest determinant of local property taxes in NH by a very large margin. My town's tax rate went up by 41% over 3 years due to the school system, which was a very unwelcome surprise indeed, leaving us with one of the highest tax rates in the state.

Look at the actual tax bills for any properties that you're interested in to see what you'd actually be paying, and be sure that 26% rate increase isn't part of a phased-in increase over several years to pay for a new school.
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Old 07-12-2017, 10:20 AM
 
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Wow, that is a huge jump. I was thinking maybe the tax rate wasn't that high to begin with so 26% wasn't that much in actual dollars, but I see it went from $28.65 to $36.16. I thought I knew all the towns with really high tax rates (above $30) but I did not know about this jump in Middleton. A local realtor should be able to explain what's happening. (See my edit at the bottom.)

I looked at the Dept. of Revenue website, and here are the rates going back to 2009. I know nothing of this town, but there appears to be a massive upward climb from 2009 on:

2009 - $17.30
2010 - $16.92
2011 - $19.46
2012 - $24.60
2013 - $23.60
2014 - $25.18
2015 - $28.65
2016 - $36.16

The tax rate has gone up by almost $20 since 2009!

I do know that the town in which we previously owned a house was on the typical 5-year revaluation schedule, with no statistical adjustments annually (as some towns do.) They were always significantly behind what was happening in the market. So, at the bottom of the market, our assessment was the highest it had ever been, and the tax rate was relatively low. They did the revaluation in 2010, but were still behind, so our value went down, but it was still way above market value. It wasn't until 2015 (after we had sold) that the value went down to anything close to the bottom-of-market value, at which time, the real market value was quite a bit higher. So, between 2005 and 2015, the values went down, and the tax rate went up, significantly. But still nothing like what is happening in Middleton.

I did a quick news search because usually when property tax rates jump so much (or have the potential to, as in the case of proposed projects) it is controversial and there are news stories about it, but I didn't find anything in my quick search. Interesting. And it looks like they only have their own elementary school and are otherwise attend the regional school in Wolfeboro. I can't imagine their share of the budget increased so much.

EDIT: I stand corrected. Looking at just the local education portion of the tax rate, it went up from $13.96 to $20.96 from 2015 to 2016. There is your answer though I don't know why it happened. Over 50% increase in just one year. Back in 2009 they paid $5.55 for the school. Municipal jumped from $9.51 to only $10.36 from 2015 to 2016.
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Old 07-12-2017, 11:00 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cowbell76 View Post
I did a quick news search because usually when property tax rates jump so much (or have the potential to, as in the case of proposed projects) it is controversial and there are news stories about it, but I didn't find anything in my quick search. Interesting. And it looks like they only have their own elementary school and are otherwise attend the regional school in Wolfeboro. I can't imagine their share of the budget increased so much.

EDIT: I stand corrected. Looking at just the local education portion of the tax rate, it went up from $13.96 to $20.96 from 2015 to 2016. There is your answer though I don't know why it happened. Over 50% increase in just one year. Back in 2009 they paid $5.55 for the school. Municipal jumped from $9.51 to only $10.36 from 2015 to 2016.
That is a brand new school that opened in August of 2016. I'm guessing the $6.6 million bond covering the cost of building the school is the reason for the education portion to jump.

It looks like Middleton has left the Farmington district altogether. Pre K - 6 is at the new school and 7-12 is now going to Wolfboro. It looks like there have been some accounting issues with how Middleton was charged by Farmington and that Farmington is not an accredited school district:

sandown.us/Pages/Sandownnh_Bcomm/.../Middleton%20Withdrawal%20Plan.pdf
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Old 07-12-2017, 12:17 PM
 
Location: Barrington, NH!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robr2 View Post
That is a brand new school that opened in August of 2016. I'm guessing the $6.6 million bond covering the cost of building the school is the reason for the education portion to jump.

It looks like Middleton has left the Farmington district altogether. Pre K - 6 is at the new school and 7-12 is now going to Wolfboro. It looks like there have been some accounting issues with how Middleton was charged by Farmington and that Farmington is not an accredited school district:

sandown.us/Pages/Sandownnh_Bcomm/.../Middleton%20Withdrawal%20Plan.pdf
Can't blame them for wanting to bail on Farmington's schools.
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Old 07-12-2017, 12:53 PM
 
636 posts, read 955,136 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robr2 View Post
That is a brand new school that opened in August of 2016. I'm guessing the $6.6 million bond covering the cost of building the school is the reason for the education portion to jump.

It looks like Middleton has left the Farmington district altogether. Pre K - 6 is at the new school and 7-12 is now going to Wolfboro. It looks like there have been some accounting issues with how Middleton was charged by Farmington and that Farmington is not an accredited school district:

sandown.us/Pages/Sandownnh_Bcomm/.../Middleton%20Withdrawal%20Plan.pdf
Ah! That explains it, thanks. That is really an outrageous jump unless the assessments have gone way down, but I assume they haven't, given that the municipal rate didn't jump much.
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Old 07-12-2017, 03:32 PM
 
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What makes me nervous as we start looking for a place to retire is this happening where we decide to move.
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Old 07-12-2017, 10:23 PM
 
4,080 posts, read 4,369,527 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Im45us View Post
What makes me nervous as we start looking for a place to retire is this happening where we decide to move.
Look into the Lakes region. Many of the lake towns have stable property taxes due to the heavy taxation of waterfront homes.
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Old 07-13-2017, 04:08 AM
 
Location: IN
20,170 posts, read 34,496,158 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brave Stranger View Post
Look into the Lakes region. Many of the lake towns have stable property taxes due to the heavy taxation of waterfront homes.
Those are high valuation property rich towns with lower property tax rates. Moultonboro is a good example of this.
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Old 07-13-2017, 04:18 AM
 
4,711 posts, read 4,830,711 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Im45us View Post
What makes me nervous as we start looking for a place to retire is this happening where we decide to move.
City/town debt.

Any town, one has to look at the long term debt of the town.
Does the town have a bunch of new municipal buildings that are paid for with long term bonds (debt)?

Only a partial issue.

Some people like new government buildings.

Take Meredith for example.

The locals accept and vote for a new Recreation Complex.
Then comes a new state of the art police station.
Then comes a new fire station. Although voters modified this to a large addition.
Presently, some in Meredith want a new library for millions of dollars.

Up the road in Moultonborough, that town has a newer town hall, newer library, newer police station, and now discussing a potential new municipal Recreation Complex. Granted, Moultonborough has a large waterfront area where out of state people have large property taxes.

Same holds true for the small town of Center Harbor. The fight for a new town hall went on for a decade.

Best to find and read any local newspapers and read up on any town that one is interested in. Read up on what the town currently has for municipal buildings and what new municipal buildings some in the town want in the future.

Schools, of course, has a large connection to taxes. Most schools are regional in rural areas. But there is a subset of people that always want to build new schools in their respective towns.

All is a complex soup of why some towns have lower property taxes and some have a higher property taxes.

Property tax rates are a guide. One has to look at the real dollar amounts paid by homeowners for a complete picture.
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