Utility assessments impacting town’s rate

BENNINGTON — The town’s tax rate increase is up 3 percent from last year, but town officials say the low rate in the town’s portion is due to increased assessed values in public service utilities.

The 2013 is $25.40, up 50 cents from last year’s rate of $24.90. Town Administrator Dee French said Monday that 2013 is the second year utilities have been assessed by George Sansoucy, PE, LLC., a specialist with utility assessments, rather than Public Service of New Hampshire and Commerford Neider Perkins, LLC., who previously assessed the town’s utilities. Now, the town has one company completing an assessment for all of the town’s public service utilities. “The changes in value are helping to keep a low tax,” French said. She added that

Some of the utilities with increased values include the town’s phone provider, TDS Telecom, the Monadnock Paper Mills Dam and taxable miles of Comcast coverage in Bennington. French said the increased values exceed $5 million.

With the help of these increased values, the town’s portion of the tax rate is now $9.93, down by almost 3 percent from last year’s $10.22.

The tax portion with the largest increase is the local school tax, set at $12.21, up 6 percent from last year’s rate of $11.50. French said that all towns that are part of the ConVal School District are feeling the effects of losing $109,000 in state aid.

The cut in state aid did not affect the state school tax rate, however. The state rate is still $2.17, the same as last year. The county portion of the tax rate is $1.09, up eight cents from last year’s rate of $1.01.

Bennington’s total assessed value is now $118,116,762, up 0.68 percent, from last year’s valuation of $117,310,500.

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