Resident Writes to Budcom: Uncovers Surprising Tax Comparision

This is an email sent to the Timberlane Budget Committee (and me) on Nov. 22, 2014 by a Timberlane resident.  Mr. Buckley sure did some impressive homework. 
 
Budget Committee,
I watched Arthur Green’s Budget Presentation with great interest.  I support his efforts 100%.  Frankly, I am quite amazed that some of you on the board do not even think it is your job to control the spending of this administration.  If the tax payers cannot rely on you to reduce our tax burden, then who can we rely on?  The administration is certainly not going spend less on their own.
From the meetings that I watch (including the School Board), I get the feeling that most of you think the taxpayers in Sandown are ill informed and just a bunch of complainers.  I do not feel that our representatives are given the respect that they deserve.
I did a little research on my own by getting a copy of the 2014 Tax Rates from the NH Department of Revenue Administration (print date Nov. 20th).  This report is only available in a PDF so I took the time to key enter the Town and Local School Tax Rate for the 208 towns currently listed. (see attached) I then created a second tab and sorted the information from highest Tax Rate to lowest.  Of the 208 towns listed, Danville is third highest (21.09) and Sandown is sixth highest(19.45).
The overall average is 11.99, which I understand involves many factors.  Even if you remove the lowest 30 towns, the average is only 13.27.  This school district is spending at rates we cannot afford, especially in light of the dramatic drop in enrollment year after year.  In just 2 years, the local school tax rate in Sandown has gone from 13.79 to 19.45.  We have the 6th highest rate out of 208 towns on the current report!
Joshua and Michelle – congratulations to you and the tax payers of Danville on being third highest!
The tax payers rely on this board to fight to reduce our tax burden.  I sincerely hope that you stand up to the administration and force them to spend less going forward.
Thank You,
Jim Buckley
FOR MORE SURPRISING INFORMATION, PLEASE ATTEND THE TOWN HALL MEETING ON THE DRAFT SCHOOL BUDGET GIVEN BY ARTHUR GREEN, CATHY GORMAN AND MYSELF ON DEC. 7 , SUNDAY, 1-3 PM, SANDOWN TOWN HALL.  Questions are welcomed.
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9 Comments

Filed under Sandown Issues

9 responses to “Resident Writes to Budcom: Uncovers Surprising Tax Comparision

  1. Rob Collins

    I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but…the numbers are off just a tad….

    Sandown is 7th in 2014 and 8th in 2013 for total school tax rate.
    Sandown was 64th in 2012.

    What happened between 2012 and 2013? Let’s think…..

    1. Total Town Revaluation, this will increase your rate but shouldn’t increase your total tax bill….unless you were undervalued or overvalued by the town previously.

    2. State aid decreased to Sandown (not enough to reflect a jump from 64th to 8th however…).

    3. Sandown’s share of the Timberlane budget increased (not enough to reflect a jump from 64th to 8th however…).

    4. The Timberlane budget did increase (not enough to reflect a jump from 64th to 8th however…).

    The correct answer? Revaluation is the reason for the jump to 8th in the state. Sandwon property values have decreased over the years between revaluations and as a result rates jumped when the town was revaluated. It’s not rocket science. This “ranking” really has no meaning. Cost per pupil, although not perfect, has much more meaning (that’s assuming you don’t make up your own numbers as Mr. Green is doing).

    Compared to the rest of the District’s towns who did not go through a revaluation?

    Atkinson
    2012 – 84th
    2013 – 92nd
    2014 – 111th

    Danville
    2012 – 3rd
    2013 – 4th
    2014 – 4th

    Plaistow
    2012 – 29th
    2013 – 42nd
    2014 – 49th

    Sandown
    2012 – 29th
    2013 – 8th
    2014 – 64th

    Also, the averages are off too.

    2012 – $12.88
    2013 – $13.84
    2014 – $14.24

    How is it Atkinson and Plaistow can be decreasing in rank while Sandown has increased so much???? And their rate is derived from the same Timberlane budget!!!!

    The answer? Trying to draw conclusions from this rank and tax rate is useless, just as useless as trying to draw conclusions from a student teacher ratio. You’re trying to twist and turn data into something it’s not.

    • Every measurable is useless, or so we are told every time we try to point to one. NECAPS – useless because children don’t really take them seriously. SATs useless because not all students take them. Student/teacher ratio useless because …? Mr. Collins does not want to defend any metric at all. The only thing that isn’t useless is demanding more money from taxpayers who have no option but to pay it even while seeing diminishing educational outcomes. The fact of the matter is that Danville and Sandown are paying a very large percentage of their wealth to educate their children and it is becoming unsustainable.

    • Revaluation does not change the proportion of cash going to the schools. Revaluation is simply what the town thinks the property is worth and is a basis for your property tax bill.

      What changes the proportion of cash going to the schools are corrupt, inept school boards who allow their hirelings to operate a job and contract mill with no oversight. That is, until the arrival of the Greens and a small but growing number who object.

      The game is up. It’s now just a matter of time before the house is cleaned.

      Looking forward to it.

  2. Rob Collins

    Correction.

    Sandown rank is off. Please correct in my post.

    Sandown
    2012 – 64th
    2013 – 8th
    2014 – 7th

  3. Jim Buckley

    Rob,

    Just for the record, “the numbers are off just a tad” for a reason. I pulled my information from the NH Dept. of Revenue Report as of Nov. 20th. I knew that not all towns had reported yet and that is why I listed the report date in my email. As of this morning I see the report date is Dec. 3rd and 229 towns have reported. So yes, Sandown is now 7th out of 229 towns instead of 6th out of 208 towns. Danville is still 3rd, tied with Hopkinton.

    This ranking may not have any meaning to you, but it fits in perfectly with other known facts….. enrollment is declining year after year, staffing is not following the decline in enrollment, budgets keep rising, and the tax burden in Danville and Sandown is out of control. Our tax rates are high for a reason.

    Jim Buckley

    • Rob Collins

      Jim,

      If the facts are as you say then how do you explain the disparity between the four towns that have the same budget? It doesn’t appear to be a perfect fit.

      Are you aware of the revaluation that inflated your tax rate? Why don’t you factor that into your reasoning regarding tax states?

      Rob

      PS – since peak, enrollment is down 18%, teachers down 12%. You should watch my presentation at last budget committee, starts about 1:33:00

      https://Vimeo.com/113320036

  4. Cathy

    Sandown valuation is UP for 2014 and so are the school taxes; enrollment or the town is down. Apologoies; I am not sure how well this table will translate in this comment however you can do a copy and pastee into excel and it formats well:

    Year ATKINSON DANVILLE PLAISTOW SANDOWN
    2009
    TOWN VALUATION $1,016,812,523 $437,085,060 $833,761,946 $585,081,910
    Local School TAX RATE $9.53 $13.99 $13.78 $12.99
    Average School Tax $9.45 $9.45 $9.45 $9.45
    Valuation Ranking 40 103 51 72
    School Tax Ranking 125 21 25 39
    2010
    TOWN VALUATION $1,024,991,103 $441,147,859 $828,441,746 $590,746,351
    Local School TAX RATE $9.67 $14.07 $14.40 $13.42
    Average School Tax $9.88 $9.88 $9.88 $9.88
    Valuation Ranking 38 101 51 70
    School Tax Ranking 132 32 28 45
    2011
    TOWN VALUATION $834,474,852 $326,673,874 $828,352,659 $594,520,700
    Local School TAX RATE $12.12 $18.88 $14.59 $13.81
    Average School Tax $10.47 $10.47 $10.47 $10.47
    Valuation Ranking 47 124 48 69
    School Tax Ranking 84 2 40 55
    2012
    TOWN VALUATION $839,305,289 $331,448,699 $827,670,502 $606,487,820
    Local School TAX RATE $12.30 $18.76 $14.90 $13.79
    Average School Tax $10.61 $10.61 $10.61 $10.61
    Valuation Ranking 47 121 48 67
    School Tax Ranking 88 3 33 59
    2013
    TOWN VALUATION $841,711,347 $333,015,778 $829,279,324 $503,856,070
    Local School TAX RATE $12.85 $19.74 $15.53 $18.37
    Average School Tax $11.39 $11.39 $11.39 $11.39
    Valuation Ranking 47 119 49 80
    School Tax Ranking 93 4 44 8
    2014
    TOWN VALUATION $846,344,193 $334,109,444 $849,982,037 $507,673,620
    Local School TAX RATE $12.50 $21.09 $15.49 $19.45
    Average School Tax $11.83 $11.83 $11.83 $11.83
    Valuation Ranking 46 115 45 78
    School Tax Ranking 112 3 50 7

  5. Cathy

    Sandown’s valuation went UP in 2014; so did school taxes – enrollment went down:

    Average School Tax (State) Year
    $10.61 2012
    $11.39 2013
    $11.83 2014

    Valuation Ranking 2012
    ATKINSON 47
    DANVILLE 121
    PLAISTOW 48
    SANDOWN 67

    Valuation Ranking 2013
    ATKINSON 47
    DANVILLE 119
    PLAISTOW 49
    SANDOWN 80

    Valuation Ranking 2014
    ATKINSON 46
    DANVILLE 115
    PLAISTOW 45
    SANDOWN 78

    TOWN VALUATION 2012
    ATKINSON 839,305,289
    DANVILLE 331,448,699
    PLAISTOW 827,670,502
    SANDOWN 606,487,820

    TOWN VALUATION 2013
    ATKINSON 841,711,347
    DANVILLE 333,015,778
    PLAISTOW 829,279,324
    SANDOWN 503,856,070

    TOWN VALUATION 2014
    ATKINSON 846,344,193
    DANVILLE 334,109,444
    PLAISTOW 849,982,037
    SANDOWN 507,673,620

    School Tax Ranking 2012
    ATKINSON 88
    DANVILLE 3
    PLAISTOW 33
    SANDOWN 59

    School Tax Ranking 2013
    ATKINSON 93
    DANVILLE 4
    PLAISTOW 44
    SANDOWN 8

    School Tax Ranking 2014
    ATKINSON 112
    DANVILLE 3
    PLAISTOW 50
    SANDOWN 7

    Local School TAX RATE 2012
    ATKINSON 12.3
    DANVILLE 18.76
    PLAISTOW 14.9
    SANDOWN 13.79

    Local School TAX RATE 2013
    ATKINSON 12.85
    DANVILLE 19.74
    PLAISTOW 15.53
    SANDOWN 18.37

    Local School TAX RATE 2014
    ATKINSON 12.5
    DANVILLE 21.09
    PLAISTOW 15.49
    SANDOWN 19.45

    Total Tax RATE 2012
    ATKINSON 18.8
    DANVILLE 27.18
    PLAISTOW 24.71
    SANDOWN 20.78

    Total Tax RATE 2013
    ATKINSON 19
    DANVILLE 28.34
    PLAISTOW 25.24
    SANDOWN 27.08

    Total Tax RATE 2014
    ATKINSON 19.1
    DANVILLE 29.65
    PLAISTOW 25.13
    SANDOWN 27.59

    School Tax Ranking 2012
    ATKINSON 88
    DANVILLE 3
    PLAISTOW 33
    SANDOWN 59

    School Tax Ranking 2013
    ATKINSON 93
    DANVILLE 4
    PLAISTOW 44
    SANDOWN 8

    School Tax Ranking 2014
    ATKINSON 112
    DANVILLE 3
    PLAISTOW 50
    SANDOWN 7

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