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Portsmouth property: Good news and bad

EDITORIAL
September 19. 2017 10:42PM

After a recent revaluation, homeowners in Portsmouth are seeing a dramatic increase in their property values, including these properties on Elwyn Avenue. (KIMBERLEY HAAS/UNION LEADER CORRESPONDENT)

First, the good news: Property values in Portsmouth are going up.

Now, the bad news: Property values in Portsmouth are going up.

The assessed valuation of residential and commercial properties across the city was only 86.6 percent of market value in 2016, prompting Portsmouth to undergo a revaluation.

That means homeowners are living in more valuable homes. Hooray!

That also means homeowners may be looking at higher property tax bills. Boo!

Portsmouth Finance Director Judie Belanger insists the revaluation won’t be used to boost city spending.

“We’re not raising money with a revaluation,” Belanger says.

If city councilors keep spending steady, the state Department of Revenue Administration would use the higher property tax base to lower the city’s property tax rate, keeping the overall tax burden the same.

Property owners whose homes have increased faster will end up with higher taxes, offset by those whose home values haven’t kept pace. New construction in the city should help share the burden.

Manchester aldermen used the Queen City’s recent revaluation to claim they were cutting taxes, when they were actually raising spending. We’ll keep an eye on Portsmouth to make sure it follows through on Belanger’s promise to avoid similar temptation.


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