If the tax rate decreased, why is my bill higher?

This is the question being asked around Town and was one that we anticipated hearing.  The median property tax increase was $512.  Approximately 775 properties had increases less than $500 and 725 properties had increases greater than $500.   Greenland’s tax rate for 2018 fell from $16.64 to $15.79.  Most residents have higher tax bills.  The decline in the rate stems from the Town-wide property revaluation in which residential properties increased on average 14% in value and commercial properties increased even more.  When property values increase, the property tax rate declines by a corresponding value so that revenue generated is the same as the previous year.  Based on the revised assessments and the previous year budgets, the estimated rate would have been $14.59.

Increased spending results in an increase to the amount needed to be raised by taxes.  The Town’s portion of the spending increased by $228,644 primarily as the result of two new full-time positions in the Fire Department and one new full-time officer for the Police Department.  The School portion of the spending increased by $1,059,447 primarily as the result of an increase in the tuition rate for students attending Portsmouth High School, three new teacher positions and Special Education costs. 

The Board of Selectmen were concerned about the impact of the increase and voted to use $150,000 from the unassigned fund balance to reduce the preliminary rate of $15.97 to $15.79.