School portion drives up overall rate

The property tax rate for the town of Rindge went up, from $24.63 in 2012 to $25.46 in 2013, a 3.4 percent jump. Owners of property assessed at $200,000 will be billed $5,092.

The local school portion of the rate is the only part that increased over the past year. The town portion remained stable at $4.79.

In a phone interview Monday, town accountant Ellen Smith talked about the reason for Rindge’s flat town portion of the tax rate. “Our revenues were up,” Smith said, indicating motor vehicle registrations increased over the past year and helped bring in more money to the town. “We were able to keep things flat, and we were pretty excited about that,” she said.

The state school portion decreased by 3.3 percent, falling from $2.42 in 2012 to $2.34 in 2013. The county portion also went down, from $3.17 in 2012 to $3.15 in 2013, a 0.6 percent drop.

The local school portion rose 6.5 percent, increasing from $14.25 in 2012 to $15.18 in 2013. Several factors led to the rise in costs, according to Jaffrey-Rindge Cooperative School District Supt. James O’Neill.

First, retirement costs rose $338,000 for the school district. The N.H. Retirement system costs had previously been paid for in larger measure by the state, O’Neill said Monday.

O’Neill also said the school portion increase is in part due to a $167,000 “teacher buy-back,” or the payment of benefits accrued internally in the school district by teachers there.

The last item, according to O’Neill, was an approximately $200,000 cost for special education due to Individualized Education Program, or IEP, placements.

All of these costs combined contributed to the increase in the school portion of Rindge’s property tax rate. “That’s almost three-quarters of a million [dollars], with those three items right there,” O’Neill said.

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