New Ipswich solar exemptions warrant going to town vote

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 2/13/2017 9:28:57 PM

The petition to exempt solar energy systems from New Ipswich property assessments made it through deliberative session relatively unscathed and will appear on the town ballot on March 14.

The proposed warrant would have exempted all residential, noncommercial solar energy systems to keep property taxes lower and encourage residents to take up the environmentally friendly practice. It was amended to cap exemptions at $25,000.

“I was happy to see how much support it seemed to have once they added the $25,000 cap,” Matt Oliveira, the resident who submitted the petition, said.

The amendment was proposed by Frank Danisienka and James Coffey of the board of assessors. Danisienka said that of the 24 solar energy systems in New Ipswich, 11 have been assessed. All by one of those is under the $25,000 cap.

Most towns have exemption caps, according to Danisienka. In Dublin, he said, it’s $8,000, $5,000 in Hollis.

The state of New Hampshire does not tax solar systems, but leaves it up to towns whether they want to. New Ipswich’s board of assessors decided last year to tax them, so this is the first year and first attempt to revoke that policy.

“We have to look to future systems that might be built in town,” he said. “We must have a limit to what the town can afford as an exemption.”

A second amendment to the article passed for clarification.

As it was originally written, the text of the article addressed only solar energy, but referred to state statutes concerning wind and woodburning. Those statutes were removed.

Oliveira is optimistic about the warrant’s chances at the polls. It will be Article 22 on March 14.

“Our focus is going to be to continue to push for community support,” he said.

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