Girard proposes changes following recent city revaluation

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Richard Girard. File photo/Andrew Sylvia

MANCHESTER, N.H. – Last week, Manchester Mayoral Candidate Rich Girard announced a set of ideas he believes can prevent concerns over significant property assessment adjustments in future years.

First, Girard stated that an equalization rate below 85 percent or above 115 percent should trigger an automatic revaluation. In New Hampshire equalization rates are a ratio between established assessment values and property sale values used in an attempt to accurately portray fair market value of the home. A figure below 100 percent means the assessed value of homes in a municipality are believed to be below market value while a figure about 100 percent means the assessed value of homes in a municipality are believed to be above fair market value.

In 2019, the last year where the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration released equalization rates, Manchester (79.0%) was 249th out of 260 municipalities that used the “weighted mean” equalization ratio formula. Fremont had the lowest equalization ration at 74.0% while Windsor had the highest at 110.6%. Among neighboring towns to Manchester, Hooksett came in at 83.9%, Goffstown at 89.5%, Bedford at 94.7%, Litchfield at 82.4%, and Candia at 95.5%. The average of those 260 municipalities was 90.5%

Girard also proposed adding one to two new staff members in the Board of Assessors’ office to more closely monitor and process real estate data and also release assessment information much earlier in the year. In past years, finalized tax rates for upcoming years have been announced in mid-November on average.

“That Mayor Joyce Craig and the Board of Aldermen are only now talking about increasing the exemptions is inexcusable,” said Girard.  “They should have been ready to go once the values were finalized.  Better yet, they could have passed a resolution that at least increased the exemptions by the percent increase in the total tax base at a minimum.  Now, they’re going to have to scramble to get something done before the tax bills go out.”