There will be no 8.75% county tax increase

Many of you saw the County Manager statement on the proposed budget. Let me offer a rebuttal. No, there is not going to be an 8.75% county tax increase. If you’re new to this process, you should know that this is normal and happens almost every time. Sullivan County runs a pretty tight operation, accomplishing much with less than other counties have to work with. The County Manager and Commissioners administer it. They are right to express concern about how tight the finances are, and advocate for more. The Delegation (made up of your State Representatives) are your advocates in this process. It is after all, your money. Every budget cycle, the proposed budget is higher than what eventually passes. Let me explain the reference that was made to the undesignated fund balance. The county has a policy of keeping around $2.5 million dollars in reserve, and that makes good sense. Over the years, county officials have argued that this number is insufficient. My response has always been “fair enough, present a business case for increasing the amount and then change the policy”. Since this has not happened, my position has always been that if there is one dollar more in that account than there should be, you get it back. We’ve been able to increase some programs and make some improvements without raising the tax rate because we had that money to use. That is what “structural deficit” means. The budget exceeded the incoming revenue. There are two ways to fix a structural deficit. You can increase revenue (raise taxes) or reduce spending. Which would you like us to do? We do after all, work for you. If you want to provide input to your Representative, you can find contact information at http://www.sullivancountynh.gov/index.php?n=delegation

There will be a public hearing on June 12 regarding the budget and I urge you to attend. You will have an opportunity to tell us what you think. Place: Newport, NH – 243 North Main Street, Louis Thompson Community Room, Sugar River Valley Regional Technical Center

Representative Steven Smith
Chairman, Sullivan County Delegation
Sullivan County District 11
PO Box 624, Charlestown, NH 03603
603-826-5940

About Rep. Steven Smith

Steven Smith is a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, serving his fifth term. Rep. Smith currently represents Acworth, Charlestown, Goshen, Langdon, Lempster, and Washington. Rep. Smith is the Chairman of the Sullivan County Delegation.
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