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November 17. 2013 10:11PM

Manchester tax rate jumps 49 cents

MANCHESTER — The tax rate that determines what city property owners will pay for local government during the current fiscal year will be 49 cents higher than the 2012 rate.

The state Department of Revenue Administration certified the Manchester tax rate on Friday at $22.67 per thousand dollars of assessed valuation, up from the $22.18 rate set last year.

For the owner of a home valued at $200,000, the annual tax bill will rise $98 to $4,534 for the year, while the bill on a $150,000 home will increase by $73.50, to $3,400.50.

The city Assessing Department posted the new rate Friday. Tax bills will be in the mail by Wednesday and will be due on Dec. 20.

Manchester operates under a cap on property taxes established by a voter-approved amendment to the city charter. Generally referred to as a tax cap, the charter provision limits the total amount of money raised from property taxes rather than the tax rate itself. The cap limits the city’s tax revenue to the average increase in the federal consumer price index during the three previous calendar years, plus the value of new construction. The cap was calculated at 2.17 percent for the current budget.

The amount being raised by taxes this year is 2.11 percent higher than last year’s property tax levy. The city plans to spend $312.2 million next year for city departments and the Manchester School District. Property taxes will contribute $187.1 million, or about $3.8 million more than last year.

As tax bills are about to hit the mail for this year, work is beginning on next year’s budget.

Mayor Ted Gatsas said city department heads have been preparing preliminary budget proposals. He has told them to stick close to what they’re spending this year.

“The departments, as of right how, will look at another 1 percent compared to last year as a starting point,” Gatsas said.

Last year, Gatsas ordered departments to submit proposals for a level-funded budget.

The mayor said he plans to begin department-by-department reviews of budget proposals with city department heads after the Thanksgiving holiday. He has until March 31 to make his proposals for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2014.

The city is expecting a tax cap figure of around 2 percent for next year, based on the average annual increase in consumer prices for 2011-2013. However the final cap amount can’t be determined until the Labor Department calculates the consumer price index for 2013.

Through September, the cost of living was up 1.2 percent.

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