Apr 22, 2015 6:15 PM
Dover residents react to news of tax increase
DOVER - Residents in Dover were surprised to learn Wednesday that their taxes might increase by approximately $22 per month for the average household, if city councilors pass the proposed fiscal year 2016 budget.
According to the city's finance director, Daniel Lynch, a taxpayer with a home worth $231,321 will have to pay $264 more per year in property taxes to offset the over $7.5 million budget increase for the fiscal year which starts July 1.
Resident Diana Fuller said her family is living on a single income and an increase in property taxes would add an extra burden.
"Yeah, I can afford it, but it has to be justified," Fuller said. "I don't think the roads are very well taken care of at this point, and the streets aren't clear, and I don't know what the justification is, so I don't know if it is worth it."
Many of the increases in the city's $128 million budget have to do with the school district. Lynch said there has been a $4.3 million increase in the district's general fund. On top of that, there is $2 million in debt services related to the renovation/rebuild project at Dover High School and Regional Career Technical Center.
Positions within the district that were eliminated in the past will be reinstated as well, under the school district's proposed plans.
Resident Fred Carter was torn. He doesn't want to see his property taxes increase, but with two children that will benefit from a new or renovated high school, he felt compelled to support education.
"My kids go to Dover schools, so anything that can go to the school system, I can't argue with that," Carter said.
Others who spoke to NH1 News said they felt the city should break down the numbers better, so taxpayers have a sense of where the money is going during budget presentations.
Lynch said funding for city debt services includes money to pay for the new police station and parking garage, as well as needed repairs to roadways and culverts.
The city also would like to add four new firefighters and one new police officer to their rosters, Lynch said. Other personnel changes include adding a full-time employee to the city clerk's office so City Hall can open on Fridays, and adding a librarian so the city's library can be open every Sunday, not just during the spring and summer.
The next City Council workshop is scheduled for April 29 at 7 p.m. at City Hall.