Penalties & Interest on Unpaid Taxes up 218%

When you can’t pay your taxes, (1) the town charges you interest, (2) places a lien on your property and (3) takes your property and sells it.

(1) In 2005 interest paid on back taxes was $30,020, in 2014 that number has increased to $95,623 a 218% increase.

Year	Penalties & Interest in Unpaid Taxes
2005	$30,020
2006	$40,449
2007	$35,931
2008	$55,324
2009	$56,743
2010	$85,599
2011	$85,677
2012	$80,498
2013	$56,227
2014	$95,623

(2) Now for tax liens – after a year of unpaid taxes the town places a lien on your property. Between 2005 and 2012 liens have increased by 64%

Year	Tax Liens Issued
2005	42
2006	54
2007	60
2008	73
2009	77
2010	62
2011	65
2012	61
2013	69

(3) 2 years after the lien is placed the town issues a tax deed and sells your property to recoup taxes owed + interest & penalties.

Between 2003 and 2012 no properties were taken for taxes. In 2013 and 2014 4 were taken, the first in 10 years. You can expect this trend to follow the others, with significant increases going forward. This has only started, more tax deeds are coming!

——————————————————–

Notice a trend here?

1. Taxes increase (faster than cpi, cola, wages, inflation or other measurement)
2. Residents have difficulty paying their taxes (#1 interest)
3. Taxes increase
4. Residents can’t pay their taxes (#2 lien)
5. Taxes increase
6. Town is forced to take and sell the property (#3 tax deed)

Information is power – educate your family, friends and neighbors, let them know that Chichester as we know it will be taken from us if we don’t step up and stop it.

The Board of Selectmen and School Board work for us, they get their authority to spend money from us. We are the legislative body and nothing can be spent without our approval, not one penny!

Come to these meetings and exercise your vote (http://chichestertaxpayers.com/?p=480).

Will you wait to act until it’s your neighbor’s house, your parent’s, yours?

Jason

How does Chichester Compare?

Selectman Debold made a comment at Thursday’s School Board meeting regarding Chichester having the 50th highest tax rate in the state. I gathered the following information from the Department of Revenue Administration regarding population, valuation and tax rates for all 259 NH towns and compared them to Chichester.

For a local comparison I used our neighboring towns of Allenstown, Barnstead, Epsom, Loudon, Northwood, Pembroke and Pittsfield. Here is what I found, watch Chichester move up the list.

Population – Chichester has the lowest population of the 8 local towns, almost half the size of the next closest. We rank 118th statewide, meaning there are 117 larger towns in NH.

Town            Population   State Rank 
PEMBROKE	7096	     45
LOUDON	        5335	     63
EPSOM	        4645	     77
BARNSTEAD	4605	     79
ALLENSTOWN	4326	     89
NORTHWOOD	4252	     90
PITTSFIELD	4082	     91
CHICHESTER	2550	     118

Valuation – Chichester has the second to lowest valuation of the towns compared and ranks 139th, only 138 towns have a lower valuation than Chichester.

Town            Valuation            State Rank
PEMBROKE	$586,793,797	     67
LOUDON	        $541,896,571	     72
NORTHWOOD	$477,041,569	     86
BARNSTEAD	$468,920,936	     87
EPSOM	        $414,878,590	     100
PITTSFIELD	$268,085,597	     135
CHICHESTER	$256,954,429	     139
ALLENSTOWN	$245,729,936	     147

Town Tax Rate – Here is where things start to come off the rails, we have the lowest population and next to lowest valuation but a higher town rate than 4 surrounding towns, only 101 towns statewide have a higher town rate.

Town            Town Rate         State Rank
ALLENSTOWN	$11.66	          12
PITTSFIELD	$10.00	          19
PEMBROKE	$6.64	          76
CHICHESTER	$6.07	          102
BARNSTEAD	$5.30	          128
EPSOM	        $4.75	          154
NORTHWOOD	$4.29	          169
LOUDON	        $3.79             195

School Tax Rate – It gets worse, our school rate is higher than 4 surrounding towns, only 54 towns statewide have a higher school rate.

Town            School Rate       State Rank
PEMBROKE	$17.68	          17
ALLENSTOWN	$16.81	          28
NORTHWOOD	$16.07	          41
CHICHESTER	$15.12	          55
BARNSTEAD	$15.06	          57
PITTSFIELD	$14.58	          68
EPSOM	        $12.51	          115
LOUDON	        $11.96	          130

Total Tax Rate – More of the same here, we have the 50th highest overall tax rate. What’s most alarming is we are only $3 away from being in the top 20. This could happen this year if we don’t change course, adding $750 or more to your tax bill.

Town            Total Rate   State Rank
ALLENSTOWN	$33.78	     3
PEMBROKE	$29.70	     21
PITTSFIELD	$29.13	     28
CHICHESTER	$26.80	     50
BARNSTEAD	$23.96	     101
NORTHWOOD	$23.90	     104
EPSOM	        $22.26	     136
LOUDON	        $20.81	     158

Per Capita Tax Burden – I saved the worst for last, of the 8 towns compared we are tied with Northwood for the highest taxes per capita – each man, woman, and child in Chichester represents more than $2600 a year in taxes. Only 104 towns statewide are higher.

Town            Per Capita      State Rank  
NORTHWOOD	$2,664    	104
CHICHESTER	$2,664	        105
PEMBROKE	$2,420	        138
BARNSTEAD	$2,398	        142
LOUDON	        $2,069	        185
EPSOM	        $1,952	        205
PITTSFIELD	$1,891	        211
ALLENSTOWN	$1,885	        212

I hope these numbers illustrate that we are spending beyond our means and significantly more than our peers. We know from this post (http://chichestertaxpayers.com/?p=415) that tax rates are going up, how much they go up is within your control – come to Town Meeting and School Meeting and help control spending (http://chichestertaxpayers.com/?p=480).

Questions? Comments? Contact me anytime.
Jason
jasontoddweir@gmail.com
6037367762

For those interested here is the data for all 259 towns

2 Saturdays Cost You 8 Million Dollars

Here is a copy of a letter to the editor I submitted to both the Concord Monitor and Suncook Sun. Anyone who knows me knows how impossible it is for me to keep my thoughts to under 250 words – well I’m not limited here and thought more explanation was needed.

Do you pay a tax bill, have kids in school, want your roads plowed or expect the police and fire departments to come when called? These things cost money, lots of it.  On March 7th and 14th Chichester residents will authorize the Selectman and School Board to collect and spend almost 8 Million of your dollars, over $3000 per resident.  Read that again, you and I must authorize all money to be spent, if we don't it cannot be spent.  Are you concerned with your ever increasing tax bill, come and vote. Think something is being ignored and needs attention, come and vote.  The budgets aside, there are other items that will be voted on that need your vote.

At Town Meeting (3/14) we will be voting on a decreasing budget, plus changes to the Road Agent Position and the Budget Committee.  I'm sure the roads and new ambulance will be discussed at length as well.  At School Meeting (3/7), we will vote on another budget increase, more control of the SAU budget, and a new Teacher's contract, which no doubt will be a significant cost increase by itself.

These items will increase your tax bill by hundreds if not a thousand dollars or more. You might be surprised to know that less than 100 people attend most of these meetings.  Your vote counts, you can make a difference.  Is $8 Million worth a few hours of your time in March?  I hope so.  For more information please visit chichestertaxpayers.com or contact me directly jasontoddweir@gmail.com

Jason Weir
Chichester

So how about these other items.

Changing the Road Agent position from being elected to being hired by the Selectmen, similar to the police chief and other town employees. Why you may ask should I as a voter give up my right to choose and trust the Selectmen to do the job for me. The main reasons for this change for me are as an elected position there are no required qualifications or education, no relevant work experience needed, no job interview, background check or anything else. Anyone, regardless of their background or experience can get elected as our Road Agent. This position manages a budget over $500K, has millions of dollars worth of equipment, manages employees, outside contractors and large construction projects. Another reason why I support this change is accountability, an elected Road Agent is almost unaccountable to the selectmen, they are very restricted to how much they can manage the position. The Road Agent cannot be treated as a regular employee and such the selectmen can claim little responsibility in managing the Road Agent. Should we give these responsibilities to a good politician who can get elected and have no accountability or someone truly qualified for the job? There should be a clear job description, required qualifications & education. The job should be posted, resumes collected, and interviews held. Then and only then should the best candidate be hired. Ask any current or prior selectman and I bet they would agree, this has been a continuing problem for 20 years or more and it’s time we fix it.

Institute a Municipal Budget Committee, this reverses the current roles of the budget committee and the board of selectmen. Currently the budget committee is advisory only and takes that role in developing the town budget. This change would require the budget committee craft the budget along with the selectmen and department heads to determine budget needs. In addition a municipal budget committee would have the responsibility along with the school board, principal and teachers of crafting the school district budget. This is a significant change and allows a single entity to bring both the town and school budgets under the same microscope and apply the same mindset to both budgets. This committee would include membership from both the board of selectmen and school board, for the first time requiring they work together in the best interest of the tax payers.

SAU Budget, I anticipate a warrant article that would move the SAU budget from a line item in the school’s budget so a separate warrant article to be voted on it’s own merit. Currently voters have little to no input into the generation of or control over how the SAU’s budget is spent. This change would bring it front and center and hopefully give the SAU some incentive to be accountable and control costs.

A New Teacher’s Contract will be presented and voted upon as well. Last year voters rejected the proposed contract due in part to the significant raises included. These raises were seen as far above the norm and unreasonable. Hopefully the school board and teachers union have revised their expectations and will bring a more reasonable request before the town. We should know more details of the new contract by budget hearing on 2/5

Questions or Comments? Please contact me.

Jason Weir – jasontoddweir@gmail.com – 736-7762

CCS Basketball Program in jeopardy

Here is an email I received from Mike Valotto regarding potential upsetting changes to the school’s basketball program – please contact Mike or the School Board with your concerns – as always our form of government requires participation if we want to enact change – please come to the upcoming meetings ( http://chichestertaxpayers.com/?p=480 ) and voice your opinion.

Jason

Hi All,

I'm writing to inform you of a proposal our current athletic director is putting forward in the upcoming teachers’ contract regarding the CCS basketball program.  

The proposal would eliminate the boys and girls 5th / 6th grade teams.  The 5th graders would not have a school team to play on and the 6th graders would be combined with the 7/8th grade team.  It would still be a no cut program.

The program is wrapped up in the teachers’ contract due to coaching stipends.  The argument for cutting the 5/6 team is of course money.  More money is spent on basketball then soccer.  This is an apples and oranges comparison.  More children are involved in the basketball program and the basketball season is almost twice as long as the soccer season.  

Another argument is that with the numbers coming up the 5/6 team may not be needed.  If that happened to be the case for a particular year or 2 that should be addressed for that year.

Was anyone involved with the basketball program - coach or parent - consulted? No  If it is a money issue are there other options?   What are they? This seems to be one person making a decision that effects many without any consideration to the impact of the decision.  

Over the last 6+ years the program has seen great improvement and growth.  The interest and participation in basketball has increased over the last few years to the point that we have had to expand to the Merrimack League to insure that the kids get opportunity and playing time.  In addition in the last 3 years 18 Chichester students went on to play high school basketball.  This season 2 of our Freshmen girls are on the PA varsity team.

The 5th/6th grade team serves a purpose in introducing the young player to game play, skill development etc. that is on level with their physical and emotional development.  Playing on a team that suits the child's development allows them to develop confidence, teamwork, trust etc.  

Putting 6th graders with the 7/8th graders on the basketball court is not in the best interest of most of those players. Have you walked through the halls of CCS and seen the physical differences between 6th & 8th grade kids?  

Some of you have experienced in the last few years teams with 15 + kids and one coach.  It's not a good experience for anyone.  Practice is chaotic and not very productive.  On game days there are only 5 players on the floor at a time and only  28 - 32 minutes in a game.  Many didn't see much if any game play.  This will be the situation going forward.

In my personal experience, had it not been for the 5th/6th grade team my freshman daughter would not be playing high school ball.

The school board meeting is tomorrow Thursday January 15 at 5:30 pm.

Please either come and state your opinion or email me your thoughts and they will be presented.  

Please forward to others that may be interested.

Thanks for your time.
Mike Valotto
michael@keydatait.com

Town Budget Cuts

Last night the Board of Selectman along with the Budget Committee proposed 7% in reductions to the 2015 town budget. This amounts to a decrease of $250,000 from what was requested, and reduced the operating budget $147,000 from $2.10M to 1.96M. These cuts will deeply affect our three largest departments, Police, Fire and Highway. Should the budget pass, the Highway budget would be reduced by $220,000, meaning less road reconstruction, putting the Road Advisory Committee’s plan even further behind. The Police would not be purchasing a replacement cruiser, a $24,000 savings, instead running and maintaining the entire fleet one year more than anticipated. The Fire Department would not be replacing their oldest ambulance, a model year 2000 which will have been in service for 14 and now 15 years, how many of you have vehicles you depend on that old?

The driving catalyst behind these cuts was our ever increasing tax rate (see http://chichestertaxpayers.com/?p=415). These cuts were not seen as “wants” or “nice things to have”, they are legitimate needs and pain will be felt by the town in their wake. That being said, we felt a need to address our tax burden and the amount to which it costs people to live in Chichester.

Here lies the problem, these cuts affect your taxes by a little over $1.00 per thousand, or $250 a year on a average home. We cannot do this alone, we need the School Board to be part of the solution and do their part to reduce their budget as well. I’ve asked the Board of Selectman to approach and work with the School Board to that effect. No longer can the Town and School work in a vacuum independently of each other. We cannot balance the tax rate on the town budget alone, especially noting that the School’s budget is almost 3 times as much. Should the School Board do their part and enact similar cuts, it would turn that $250 savings to $1000 for the average tax payer.

I encourage all that can to attend the School Budget workshop tomorrow night @ 5:30 at the school (see http://chichestertaxpayers.com/?p=480), if you cannot attend please call or email the School Board Members and express your desire for them to reduce their budget in similar fashion to what the town as proposed.

Benjamin Brown			Harold Losey, Jr.		Sally Kelly
bbrown@sau53.org		hlosey@sau53.org		skelly@sau53.org
(603) 798-4116			(603) 798-4055			(603) 798-5806

Jason

2015 Budget Season Dates

Upcoming dates of importance

1/13/15 – 6:00PM, Selectman & Budget Committee Meeting @ the Town Hall.

1/14/15 – 6:00PM, Selectman & Budget Committee Meeting @ the Town Hall (if needed).

1/15/15 – 5:30PM, School Board meeting @ the School (budget workshop).

1/21/15 – 6:30PM, School Board meeting @ the School (regular meeting).

1/27/15 – 6:00PM, Town Budget Public Hearing @ the Town Hall (cancelled due to snow)

2/3/15 – Deadline for Citizen Petitions to be included on the Town Meeting warrant.

2/3/15 – 6:00PM, Town Budget Public Hearing @ the Town Hall (public input).

2/4/15 – Deadline for Citizen Petitions to be included on the School District warrant.

2/5/15 – 6:00PM, School District Budget Hearing @ the School (public input).

2/9/15 – 6:00PM, School District Budget Hearing @ the School (if needed, snow date).

3/7/15 – 9:00AM , School District Meeting @ the School (most important to attend).

3/14/15 – 10:00AM, Town Meeting @ the School (most important to attend).

Please attend as many of these meeting as possible – here is where we have 100% control over where and how our tax $$ are spent

Jason

School Doesn’t Use Surplus To Buy Pencils, Gives It To Staff Instead

There is a lot of information here so please bear with me.

First of all I need to point out that I’ve always been a huge supporter of staff both at the town and school. I believe they are our most important resource and should be treated as such. What follows is not an attack on the staff, nor is it meant to minimize their accomplishments or to say they didn’t deserve the payment. My problem lies with a Board who choose not to follow the direction of the Legislative Body and violated the law by expending money that had not been authorized. The Board had every opportunity to present this to the Town, but instead choose to circumvent the process and act on their own. Sound familiar?

On March 8th, 2014 Chichester Taxpayers rejected an attempt by the School Board to mandate an almost 20% pay raise over 3 years (an approximate $50,000 yearly increase). A short month later, on April 16th the Board approved $34,534.12 in surplus funds to be given to staff in recognition of the Blue Ribbon School Award.

Download (PDF, 50KB)

I believe this to be in contrast to the budget authorized by the Taxpayers at the district meeting and in direct violation of the following state laws, specifically RSAs 32:6 32:8 and 32:10. On June 27th I sent a letter to the School Board. In the letter I questioned their authority under these laws to expend funds not specifically authorized by the Taxpayers.

Download (PDF, 28KB)

On July 9th the Board responded indicating their ability to expend funds under the same law RSA 32:10, which states, “If changes arise during the year following the annual meeting that make it necessary to expend more than the amount appropriated for a specific purpose, the governing body may transfer to that appropriation an unexpended balance remaining in some other appropriation”. So we are all on the same playing field, here is Merriam Webster’s definition of Necessary.

Download (PDF, 185KB)

In addition they placed the following letter in the July 23rd edition of the Suncook Valley Sun

Download (PDF, 275KB)

Along the way I received a letter welcoming my 8-year-old to the 3rd grade. In the letter they ask me to provide 2 boxes of pencils, a set of colored pencils, crayons, and 4 or 5 colored folders. This indicates the school doesn’t have the funds to provide the necessary supplies, yet they had a surplus.

Download (PDF, 329KB)

For me this doesn’t pass the sniff test.

1. What made this “Necessary” as required by law? Prudent does not equal Necessary.
2. If this was indeed discussed “behind the scenes since January”, why was it not included on the Warrant, and subsequently voted on by the Taxpayers? Instead done a month later with much less Taxpayer involvement.
3. Why was the surplus not used for supplies, and instead a letter sent to parents asking for additional money for a salary increase?
4. After all of this, how are we to believe this is not in “retaliation” or in spite of the defeated collective bargaining agreement? And not just a Board who has decided they will do whatever they want regardless of what the Taxpayers have authorized.

Even if found legal, this is an extremely arrogant action taken by a school board who has seemingly forgotten who they work for. This is not a childish game, the Board had an obligation and legal requirement to ask Taxpayers before spending this money.

The School Board has a meeting scheduled on August 14th @ 6:30 at the School, I encourage all Chichester residents to attend and remind the board who they work for and pressure the Board to justify, if not reverse this action.

If we cannot control this type of behavior at the local level what hope do we have at the state or federal level?

Please contact your School Board for more information or to express your concern.

Chairman Harold Losey Jr. – (603) 798-4055 – harold.losey@rbc.com
Co-Chair Benjamin Brown – (603) 798-4116 – benjamin.brown@ieee.org
Member Sally Kelly – (603) 798-5806 – sallymakessense@gmail.com
Co-Superintendent of Schools Helene Bickford – hbickford@sau53.org

Please contact me if you plan on attending the meeting or have questions.

Thank you,
Jason Weir
jason.weir@comcast.net
603-736-7762