Bridge construction yields higher tax rate

FRANCESTOWN — Money saved from the town’s bridge project helped lower the overall tax rate increase, but the project did result in a higher than normal tax increase.

The town’s tax rate was set at $22.77, a 5.37 percent increase over 2012’s rate of $21.61. Town Administrator Michael Branely said in an interview Monday that at the Town Meeting in March, the Select Board recommended an operating budget that would have resulted in a tax rate of $7.05 for the town’s portion. But the need to construct a temporary bridge on the 2nd N.H. Turnpike South increased the town’s portion to $7.29, up 6.58 percent from 2012’s rate of $6.84.

Residents at the Town Meeting voted to increase the operating budget by $70,000 for 2013 to be able to afford the temporary bridge. Branely said that based on estimates from engineers at the Town Meeting, $70,000 seemed like sufficient funds to complete the bridge project. The bridge was completed in June of this year and the final cost was $55,000. The Select Board agreed to apply the leftover money to help reduce the town’s portion of the tax rate. Branely said the reason the town’s portion is higher is due to the bridge project.

The tax portion with the second highest increase was the local school tax that is now $12.11, up 5.58 percent from last year’s $11.47 rate. State school tax is now $2.29, up 2.69 percent from last year’s $2.23. The county rate is $1.08, up one cent from last year’s $1.07 rate.

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