STRONG — Taxpayers will see a $2.30 hike per $1,000 of valuation of property when they receive their tax bills in late August.

Selectmen met Tuesday with Robert Worthley, who reviewed the data used to calculate 2019 changes in revenues and expenses. Selectmen act as assessors and approve the final tax rate. Worthley serves as their agent, and among his calculations are new construction valuations, reimbursement from the state’s Tree Growth Tax Program and state revenue-sharing.

“The net appropriation is up about $96,000, due to the $100,000 reduction in the amount of surplus used to reduce the tax rate,” he told selectmen.

Worthley noted that Strong’s share of School Administrative District 58’s 2019-20 budget went up by $107,000, and the town’s share of the Franklin County budget rose by $3,400. These assessments alone will require a $1.20 increase  per $1,000 of property valuation.

Voters in March approved the town’s annual budget but voted to take $150,000 instead of the recommended $250,000 from surplus to reduce the total commitment to taxpayers. That required taxpayers to pay an additional $1.10 per $1,000 of valuation. Worthley’s figures listed the annual  tax rates, starting in 2015, at $14.70, $14.20, $14.40 and $15.50. The increase to $17.80 was too much for Selectman Jim Burrill to absorb without comment.

“I don’t want to hear the word ‘liberal’ out of anyone’s mouth in this town again,” he said.

Worthley said some of the revenue declines have come from legislative budget decisions that can change annual reimbursements, subsidies and revenue-sharing amounts. Half of the acreage in town is included in the Tree Growth Tax Program, he said. Property owners pay a reduced tax rate, and this year, the town will receive $18,000 as reimbursement, which is about 10 percent of the true tax valuation.

Selectmen will meet Aug. 13 to sign the tax commitment and tax bills will be mailed soon after.


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