Commercial Tax Incentive Program Gets Approved

By Alex Malm

After discussing the plan through multiple meetings and through two Town Managers the Town Council voted to approve a Commercial and Industrial Tax Incentive program in a 3-1 vote at their most recent meeting.
The goal of the program is to create tax incentives that would help to reallocate the tax burden so it lowers the burdens on residential homeowners and increases it for commercial properties.
Town Manager Mike Malaguti said previously that by having the incentives their goal is to be able to bring in industrial and commercial users into town. He said that by doing so it would then decrease the amount that residential property owners would have to pay for taxes.
Malaguti said that the previous proposal would’ve limited the program to certain areas.
Under the new proposal he said that it would be for the entire town of Londonderry.
It was pointed out by Farrell that there are only a number of things towns are able to do to help raise revenue.
“We have very limited tools here in New Hampshire to drive tax revenue,” said Chairman John Farrell.
Malaguti said that during the last meeting he was asked to provide examples of how other communities have benefited from similar programs.
One example that he pointed to is Milford, which was able to build a $50 million factory.
Town Councilor Deb Paul said that she had reservations about voting on it.
“I think this is just put in place for Woodmont,” said Paul.
Malaguti said that it wasn’t just for Woodmont.
Malaguti explained that if he wanted to confine it to just Woodmont he would have proposed the same proposal from the fall which would limit it to that portion of town. He did recognize that some of the largest undeveloped parcels are in the Woodmont development however.
“There is no backroom deal here with Woodmont,” said Mallagutti.
Paul said that she didn’t say that there was a backroom deal, but it may be geared towards getting Woodmont to move forward with development.
“I think this is all for Woodmont so I struggle with this,” said Paul.
During public comment resident John Wilson said that the real estate bubble may break and then the incentives may not even be needed.
“If the real estate market crashes is this really going to be helping us at all,” said Wilson.
Farrell said that if that is the case then they wouldn’t use the incentives.
Wilson proposed the Town Council tabling it to see what happens with the economy.
Malaguti said that currently 19 municipalities have a form of the tax incentive and 18 different companies are receiving incentives. As of 2021 the total amount of incentives given out was 3.4 million across the state.
“We are seeking to do this because it’s one of the precious few tools we have in our tool belt,” said Malaguti.
It was explained by Assessor Steve Hamilton that for properties that are already in use they would have to expand or renovate for a minimum of $15 million.
Hamilton said that for about every $27 million that they have in assessed value the town receives about $500,000 in revenue. He said that it would be less money that the town has to get from other sources.
“It can’t be targeted for just the residential properties,” said Hamilton.
The board ultimately approved the tax incentive program with Paul voting against it.

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