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 ( 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 (

Questions? Comments? Contact me anytime.

For those interested here is the data for all 259 towns

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1 Response

  1. Pat Testerman January 23, 2015 / 8:48 AM

    Thanks for posting this analysis, Jason. Troubling indeed. Below is the text of a letter I wrote to the Suncook Valley Sun. Data is from US Census, NHES, and your earlier-posted data on Chichester taxes.


    From 2009 to 2013, Chichester household income grew roughly 1.5%. In that same period, Chichester taxes climbed by more than 7% per year. The average household in Chichester now pays approximately 10% of its annual income in property taxes (whether directly or through rent).

    These spending trends are not sustainable. Assuming similar growth over the next 10 years, the average household’s tax burden will increase to 17% of their income. In 20 years, it will be 34%. In 50 years, taxes theoretically will exceed our income.

    Of course, this is unsustainable and will collapse before then. But what is too much? During these tough times, many of us have made tough choices to balance our budgets. Think back to those decisions. Could you balance your budget if you had to spend 7% more of your income on taxes or rent? What about 15%? 20%?

    Like us, our town selectmen have made some difficult choices, cutting their proposed budget by just over $100,000. However, our School Board has increased their proposed budget by nearly twice the amount of the Selectmen’s cuts – $190,000… and that is BEFORE the increases expected in the new teacher contract negotiations.

    When will it stop?

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