By John Toole
---- — DERRY — Property tax rates are up in 10 of 12 communities in Southern New Hampshire.
Hardest hit were Sandown taxpayers, who saw property taxes surge more than 30 percent.
“Multiple, multiple calls” is what Selectmen’s Chairman Tom Tombarello said he’s received since officials announced the increase last week.
“This is not going to be an easy one for us to handle,” he conceded.
One woman’s tax bill soared $2,000 and residents are saying they will have to leave town, he said.
Even his wife, Marykate, yelled at him, he said.
“I’m a taxpayer in town,” Tombarello said. “The tax bill was up $680 at my house.”
Schools accounted for the bulk of the $6.30 per $1,000 property valuation increase, up nearly $5.
“If you live in Sandown and you are wondering why your taxes went up so dramatically this year, blame the school district,” Donna Green, who serves on the school district Budget Committee, posted on her blog.
Green wrote that she and colleague Cathleen Gorman are opposing new school spending, but are being outvoted.
Tombarello expects there could be repercussions come Town Meeting.
“I think with the warrant articles,” he said, “I think you’ll see townspeople vote no.”
Only Pelham and Salem officials delivered a tax break to property owners this year.
Pelham officials had promised to get the tax rate down if voters would accept a onetime spike to pay for a new fire station.
They delivered, reducing taxes 6.3 percent, or $1.53 per $1,000 of property valuation.
The reduction came from both the town and school budgets, with the town side accounting for more than $1.
“The $1.01 reduction in the town rate fulfills the commitment the board made to taxpayers that the funding of the new fire station at a dollar on the tax rate would be a onetime expense,” selectmen said in announcing the tax rate last month.
It was the biggest reduction in the region.
Salem had runner-up honors, down 0.57 percent or 12 cents.
“It was a good year,” Salem Selectmen’s Chairman Everett McBride Jr. said.
In a word, Salem achieved a tax rate reduction through frugality, he said.
“We watched every penny,” McBride said.
He credited officials throughout the town and school district for their efforts.
Kingston taxpayers also saw a double digit increase in the tax rate, up more than 12 percent.
Selectmen’s Chairman Mark Heitz said revaluation reduced the tax base, contributing to the rate hike.
But the net change benefitted many taxpayers, he said.
“A lot of people’s taxes went down,” he said.
Hetiz said he has heard from very few taxpayers about their tax bills.
New tax rates
TOWN RATE +/- % CHANGE
Atkinson $19.00 +$1.20 up 1.07 percent
Danville $28.34 +$1.16 up 4.25 percent
Derry $31.49 +$1.01 up 3.2 percent
Hampstead $23.68 +$1.74 up 7.95 percent
Kingston $24.28 +$2.64 up 12.21 percent
Londonderry $21.10 +$0.60 up 2.9 percent
Newton $25.30 $1.39 up 5.8 percent
Pelham $22.87 -$1.53 down 6.3 percent
Plaistow $25.24 +$0.53 up 2.15 percent
Salem $20.46 -$0.12 down 0.57 percent
Sandown $27.08 +$6.30 up 30.3 percent
Windham $23.60 +$0.55 up 2.4 percent