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A photo of Goffstown High School from the school's website. 

Goffstown residents repeat wish to have surplus tax fund returned

GOFFSTOWN — Residents continue to say that a surplus of money found on the books should be returned for tax relief.

Just over $10 million has been retained by SAU 19 since 2011, $9.1 million of which was from Goffstown. The rest of the money was in the New Boston school budget.

Residents at Wednesday night’s school board meeting said that returning the money to taxpayers could restore some of the trust lost in the board.

“By returning the ($9.1 million), that’s the long game,” said Scott Gross. “That’s the trust factor.”

Resident Adam Osburn agreed.

“This is an incredibly difficult situation to find yourselves in,” he said. “The logical thing is to give the money back.”

Right now, the money will be returned to the town at the end of the fiscal year in July, and used to offset future tax rates, per state law.

This would mean a sharp drop in the tax rate one year and a spike in the next, something SAU 19 Superintendent Brian Balke said he wants to prevent.

Town officials can spread out the tax relief if they work out a plan with the state’s Department of Revenue Administration. But those discussions can’t begin until the school board decides what, if any, action to take.

“Until we know what the school board decides ... the town doesn’t know how to respond,” said Scott Bartlett, the town assessor.

The board decided against creating special legislation that would allow Goffstown to retain the surplus at the end of the year, or to use the money to pay off debts in the district.

The other remaining options would be to keep 2.5 percent of the money on the books to be used for future tax relief or emergency expenditures, and return the rest — or to let residents vote on warrant articles in March offering options for what to do with the money.

The conversation will continue on Monday at the next school board meeting.

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