MANCHESTER — Residents at the annual Town Meeting Thursday night will likely vote on town budget items without knowing exactly how they will impact their tax bills.

With the state budget still unsettled, town officials are not sure how much, if any, state revenue sharing Manchester will get this year. And property tax bills could vary widely depending on whether the town has state revenue sharing funds to use to offset the impact of the budget on taxpayers.

Town Manager Patrick Gilbert said the $1.76 million town budget itself should have no impact on the tax rate. The budget is up 1.53 percent, or about $26,000, but Gilbert said that increase will be offset by taking money from the fund balance, which is made up of money left unspent in previous years.

Manchester’s share of the Regional School Unit 38 budget, however, is up more than 15 percent, or about $460,000, over the previous year. But the school budget won’t be voted on at town meeting. Residents of Manchester and the other RSU 38 towns vote whether to validate the school budget in a referendum tonight.KEdwards 6/10/13 Tuesday, June 11

Residents won’t likely know what their tax bills will be until after state revenue sharing and other state budget issues are settled in the state Legislature, the timing of which is uncertain.

“It’s a moving target, so it’s hard to calculate our numbers, a lot depends on the Legislature,” Gilbert said. “And obviously things could change with the school budget, depending on how the validation vote goes. With so many variables, we decided to present (the estimated tax increase) as a range.”

Gilbert said the best case scenario, with the town getting the same amount of revenue sharing from the state it got this year, would be a $1.33 increase in the tax rate, which is currently $13.80 per $1,000 of valuation.

Worst case scenario, if the town gets no revenue sharing money, would be a rate increase of $1.85 per thousand.

The best and worst case scenarios for the owner of a $200,000 home would result in increases of between $252 to $350 in taxes for the year.

One town meeting warrant article relates to an item traditionally funded by the school, not municipal, budget.

Article 43 asks voters for $12,000 to fund 40 percent of the full-time salary of an education technician to work the afternoon session of the pre-kindergarten program at Manchester Elementary School.

Gilbert said the funding was not included in the RSU budget, but the town has the option to fund the position locally.

Residents will also vote on zoning ordinance changes, including language updates and fee changes, as well as a proposal to ban sex offenders convicted of acts against children from living within 750 feet of a school or 1,500 feet of a daycare center, or from entering a school or daycare, unless authorized by a school administrator or daycare owner.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647
[email protected]

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