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Littleton selectmen expect re-appraisal to reduce tax rate


October 03, 2018
LITTLETON—Last Monday's Select Board meeting illuminated Littleton's ongoing property re-evaluation, which the board hopes will redress the growing imbalance between listed value and sale price and, it is hoped, shave the tax rate.

"Properties are consistently selling for higher than their assessed values," reported Town Manager Andrew Dorsett, who explained that the sale ratio, a measure of that disparity, had grown over each of the past few years.

Littleton is approaching the point where the state recommends

Littleton is assessed on a five-year cycle, with one quarter of homes examined per year, with a final twelve months for collation and review.

This year's additional re-appraisal, which Dorsett initiated in response to the falling sales ration, has been completed and hearings are now underway with property owners, Dorsett said.

Preliminary estimates suggest a large jump from the previous value, to a projected total of $821 million 2017, before various exemptions are taken into account. In addition, if present trends continue, total value could top $900 million before next year.

Dorsett reckoned that if the estimates bear out, Littleton might be able to reduce its tax rates.

Local realtor and property market maven Andy Smith observed property value growth has been highest (9.4 percent) among the lowest-value homes, with the highest only growing 5.7 percent. Nationally, by June prices had risen 6.2 percent over last year, with New England slightly less (5.4 percent), and New Hampshire slower still (4.8 percent), but all well ahead of inflation, which remains low.

Grafton and CoŲs County's property values changed at about the same rate over the last three years, Smith observed. He added that, for the first time in some years, there was a shortage of commercial inventory space.

The Select Board also heard a report on the Ammonoosuc/Saranac sewer improvements, which wrapped up last week. Drainage improvements are planned, as are hardscape, parking, and temporary line painting,

"So there's not chaos in the river district over the winter," Dorsett explained.

Next year, trees and landscaping are planned.

Drainage and paving improvements to Green street were helped along by Bill Sargent and the Highway Department.

"The Selectmen appreciate the extra effort of the Highway Department," said Board Chair Schuyler Sweet.

In other construction news, a contract was awarded last week for the "Subdivision 5" infrastructure project, with a pre-construction meeting at Town Hall Friday, Sept. 21. Preliminary work will be wrapped up by Nov. 17, when crews have to be out of the road, and will recommence in May of 2019.

Martin Lord Osman
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