Tax Rate Explained
How Are Tax Dollars Utilized?
This is probably the single most common question posed in any community yet the answer is not always so well received. Sadly, municipal staff are often the first line of citizen attack when tax rates seem too high. Tax dollars are a concern for everybody in that we only want to pay our fair share. This is also true of municipal employees, many of whom also own homes in the communities we work in. This means rising property taxes are just as much a concern to us as they are to you.
To that end, we want the public to be aware that we are constantly looking for ways to hold budgets down. Whether it is through the use of new technology, restructuring current programs to run more efficiently, or making actual cuts in program dollars; we are constantly reviewing the bottom line to improve things.
Breaking Down the Tax Rate
At the present time, the City has four separate and distinct tax rates. The 2020 tax rate for Lebanon is $27.09 per $1,000 of assessed value and is broken down as follows:
- City (Municipal) = $9.96
- County = $1.86
- Local School = $13.28
- State Education = $1.99
How the Tax Rate is Set
The tax rate setting is not a function of local government. Property tax rates are set each fall by the Department of Revenue Administration (DRA) located in Concord. Consider it a form of check and balance for the community.
To do the calculation each municipality must send in its total assessed value, exemption and credit figures, and municipal budget. The school district and county also send in their respective budgets and the legislature sets the state education figure.
Once all the DRA receives these items, the tax rate is calculated by dividing the total of the budgets by the total taxable assessed value of the City.
For example, if the total of all the budgets is $100,000 and the total taxable assessed value of the City is $1,000,000, then the tax rate would be $10 (100,000 ÷ 1,000,000 = .10 or $10 per thousand). Though this example is oversimplified, it does provide a realistic model of the process.
Property tax rates across New Hampshire are at an all time high, and Lebanon is no exception. So, what can we do as citizens to help hold our tax rates down?
Each taxing authority’s respective governing body determines its own budget. To that end residents may have limited input on how much money is to be raised and appropriated but it does not mean you can’t let your concerns be known. To do so, you will need to contact each group (i.e. City Manager/Council, School Board, County Commissioners, and Legislators) and let them know about your desire to hold spending down and to find new sources of revenue.
In short, get involved and see what you, as a concerned citizen, can do to help hold down costs or assist in finding new revenue sources. We all need to do our part in making our community work.
Review Your Property Record Card
Review your property record card(s) for data accuracy. The assessed value is only as good as the accuracy of the data on the card.
Exemptions and Credits
The following exemptions and credits are available to eligible property owners.
For further information about the Exemption and Credit programs or to see if you qualify, please call 603-448-1499 or stop by the Assessing Office located at City Hall, 51 N Park Street, Lebanon, NH 03766.