The FY15 tax rate for the Town of Londonderry has come in 23 cents lower than last year’s rate, Town Manager Kevin Smith announced last week.
At $4.94, the Town-wide tax rate is 20 cents lower than Smith said they had anticipated it would be.
According to Smith, the substantial reduction is attributed to an increase in valuation on the books this year, primarily from development in the area of Pettengill Road, as well as an uptick in revenues the Town hadn’t anticipated.
“We try to estimate conservatively because it’s always better to come in lower than what we estimate,” he aid.
On the County side, the tax rate has increased from 93 cents to 94 cents, while the School District’s share has increased from $12.82 to $12.94, and the State’s school share has increased from $2.17 to $2.20.
While the County, State and School tax rates did increase, Smith said because the Town’s tax rate saw such a substantial decrease, residents will receive an overall tax decrease of 7 cents when the December tax bills go out.
The total tax rate has decreased to $21.02 from $21.09.
“This is the second consecutive year we have lowered taxes town wide, which hasn’t happened in a long time,” Smith said. “The conventional wisdom is if you want to lower tax rates, you have to cut services. We’ve lowered the tax rate despite upping the operating budget for four additional firefighters and an additional School Resource Officer. Even though we’re increasing the operating budget by adding services, we’re still decreasing the tax rate, and it’s been done because of all the economic development coming into town. I think that’s pretty significant.”
Moving into planning for next year’s budget, which will kick off with the Town’s department-wide budget planning workshop on Saturday, Nov. 14, at 8 a.m., Smith anticipates increased valuation and revenues will continue to help lower the tax rate despite increases in the costs of services and health care costs.
The Town Council expressed its commitment to continuing the trend of lowering the tax rate in the next fiscal year, with Councilor Tom Dolan saying that even with the dramatic increases in health care costs, he would like to see the Town and Council set as a goal offering another tax reduction.