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October 08. 2013 6:19PM

Assessor sees good news in Nashua revaluation

NASHUA — Property values throughout Nashua are still on the decline, but they are beginning to level out, according to results from a citywide assessment completed last week.

"It should come as no surprise that property values are less than in the past, but we are noticing the start of a leveling-out period," Chief Assessor Angelo Marino said on Tuesday. "I think this is good news for everybody."

Marino said the recent revaluation has decreased the city's assessed property values from a total of $8.6 billion to $8.1 billion, or approximately $500 million less.

"This decrease wasn't a surprise to me, as I have been analyzing it for quite some time," said Marino. "I am hearing from other assessors that it is about the same percentage in similar communities."

Home property values have been declining since 2007, he said.

The last citywide revaluation took place in 2009, at which time overall assessed property values declined from $9.5 billion in 2008 to $8.6 billion, a decrease of nearly $1 billion. The revaluation completed last week, however, decreased property values by half that amount at about $500 million, Marino said.

Homeowners may notice some adjustments in their December tax bills as a result of the revaluation, although it is difficult to gauge exactly how much of a difference, said Marino.

"There are going to be some bills that go down and some that go up," he said. "By and large, it looks like a large portion of the tax bills will go down."

The city's existing operating budget is $236,009,508, with an overall municipal budget of $251 million, which is expected to increase the city's tax rate by less than 3 percent. The new tax rate should be finalized in the coming weeks.

The current tax rate is $21.49 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, about a 2.5 percent increase over the previous rate of $20.97. For an average homeowner in Nashua, property taxes increased about $130 last year.

With this being a citywide revaluation year, Mayor Donnalee Lozeau said last month that she expects about 58 percent of residential property owners in Nashua to owe the same amount or less on their upcoming tax bill compared to last year.

The remaining 42 percent of homeowners will see an increase in property taxes, with about 14 percent seeing an increase of less than $100, about 10 percent seeing an increase of between $100 to $200, 5 percent jumping up $200 to $300 and the remaining percentage facing a hike of more than $300, Lozeau said earlier.

Despite the loss of $1.4 billion in assessed property value throughout the past five years, the mayor said Nashua's revenues increased by $2.3 million during the last budget cycle.

"We are seeing signs that our community is stronger," she told city officials recently. The majority of the unexpected revenue consisted of an additional $1 million from motor-vehicle registrations and $200,000 in planning and building revenue, mostly from extra building inspections, said Lozeau.

Local homeowners who disagree with the updated assessments can file for abatements after December tax bills are issued. Written abatement applications must be submitted by March 1, 2014.

The updated assessments are available on the city's website at www.nashuanh.gov/assessing.
khoughton@newstote.com


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