DIXFIELD — In the wake of the economic slowdown from the global pandemic, selectmen voted recently to reduce excise tax projections by $38,800 and state revenue-sharing projections by $24,750.

Town Manager Dustin Starbuck had asked the board, via teleconference, to revise the amounts.

“With people not working, I don’t see as many people buying cars next year,” he said. “With excise taxes, we’re going to be short this year. With revenue-sharing, we get a portion of the state sales tax. It’s prudent to reduce those two, since they’re dependent upon the economy.”

He said his “best guess” is to remove a month’s worth of revenue, or about 8.6%. That puts the amount for excise taxes at $331,200 instead of $360,000, and $273,441 for revenue-sharing instead of $298,191.

“Even that, I don’t feel good about, but if I take it any lower, I then worry about what we’re doing to the property tax rate,” Starbuck said.

“I can’t see all of a sudden in July by us being back to normal and the economy going on like this didn’t happen,” he said.

The board voted 5-0 to accept the revised numbers.

“It would be nice to think next year’s revenue wasn’t going to be affected by being shut down, but it’s a guess of my part,” Starbuck said. “But I think putting a rosy number in there isn’t what we wanted to do.”

In other business at the April 13 meeting, the board discussed using the fund balance to reduce the amount needed from taxation. The town used $300,000 last year.

Starbuck recommended not posting that article or an amount this year.

“It looks like we’re going to have a revenue shortfall of at least $100,000 through the excise tax,” he said. “I don’t know if the state is going to continue doing their revenue-sharing to us,” he said.

“Also, with the delayed election and then the high probability that the school budget is not going to pass, I don’t feel it would be prudent to drop our reserves down anymore than we already have, given that we may be living on them until November or December again,” he said.

Selectman Norman Mitchell said that before last year’s school budget finally passed, the town had collected an extra $40,000 from taxpayers, which was the difference between the rate they assessed versus the rate that eventually passed.

He proposed adding $60,000 to that, giving $100,000 from the fund balance to reduce taxes.

“That would give us a fund balance of 2½ months, which doesn’t put us in bad shape,” Starbuck said. “We’re in good fiscal shape. With everything that’s going on, it makes me a little worried. But $100,000 is not going to break the bank.

The board voted 5-0 to ask voters to use up to $100,000 from the undesignated fund balance to reduce the tax commitment.


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