The 2 percent bonus will be given to those who pay their entire bill by Oct. 1.

MEXICO – For the first time in a dozen years, residents will receive a 2 percent discount for paying their property taxes early.

At a special town meeting Wednesday night, about a dozen people agreed to go with the discount, as first voted on at the annual town meeting held earlier in the month. However, a few more strings were attached.

Town Clerk Penny Duguay said the discount would cost the town at least $22,000, a figure that wasn’t provided in the adopted budget, if nearly everyone paid their taxes before the due date of Oct. 31.

And the article voted on at the early June meeting didn’t define “early” or whether both installments would get the discount. On Wednesday, the details were worked out.

As adopted, property owners will receive the discount if they pay their entire tax bill, which includes both installments, and if that payment is made before Oct. 1.

The due date for paying the first half of property taxes is Oct. 31. The second half is due by March 5.

Even with the change, Duguay and the board are concerned that whatever amount must be discounted is not included in the municipal budget.

“We didn’t raise money to cover a discount. If we have this, we’ll need to raise that money,” she said.

Selectman Monique Aniel questioned whether this was the year to reduce income for operating the town.

“We have to make sure this doesn’t put us in a worse situation financially,” she said. “Because people aren’t making money on their savings, more may pay their taxes early.”

Mike Mann said the discount is linked to municipal cash flow. “People should be rewarded for that,” he said.

Jim Belyea, the resident who made the original motion at the June 9 town meeting, argued that if the town receives 2-plus percent on investments, then it will gain 0.5 percent by paying the discount and investing the early tax money.

Duguay said, following the meeting, that she isn’t sure how much the discount will cost the town. “This first year will be a trial,” she said.

The town discontinued the 2 percent discount in 1991, which had been offered when residents were required to pay their entire bill at one time, because the town began offering a chance to pay taxes in two installments.

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