EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

December 23, 2012

Pelham, Derry see big spikes in tax rates

The Pelham tax rate shot up nearly 14 percent this year.

That was the highest percentage increase in Southern New Hampshire and upset a lot of people.

Traffic on the town’s electronic message board reflected residents’ concern as soon as the tax bills went out.

As of last week, a “Tax Bill” category had generated 86 replies and 5,861 views since November.

Pelham wasn’t the only town with a year-over-year double digit increase.

Derry saw one, too, while Kingston’s rate soared more than 4 percent. But taxpayers in other towns saw rates fall or at least stay level.

Danville had a more than 2 percent reduction, while Atkinson held the line.

Granite State Taxpayers chairman Jim Adams said, throughout the state, taxpayer organizations are reporting mixed results.

“There have been some areas where they are getting a tax break,” Adams said. “Other places are saying with the continued cutting of the state budget that is beginning to squeeze local budgets, the old trickledown.”

Adams estimates that split among towns is about 50-50.

Blame Pelham voters for their big bill, a nearly $3 increase in the tax rate. At Town Meeting in March, they approved school and town budgets, a new $3.9 million fire station and $1 million in school improvements.

Their sweeping approvals of spending, a rarity for Pelham, stunned town officials last March.

“It’s like we won the World Series,” School Board member Andy Ducharme said at the time.

Anxious selectmen, convening days later, expressed their appreciation to the community, while stressing the need for the town to be prudent with finances going forward and to take care planning future spending to avoid alienating taxpayers.

Bill Scanzani has lived in Pelham since 1976 and is a familiar figure around Town Hall. Over the years, he has participated on planning, economic development and capital improvement boards.

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