Higher taxes are inevitable across the Granite State, with the Pittsfield board showing limits are possible

Maddie Vanderpool

Maddie Vanderpool

By RAY DUCKLER

Monitor staff

Published: 02-01-2024 5:53 PM

Select Board Chairman Carl Anderson knows the word “taxes” might cause an uneasy feeling Saturday at the deliberative session of the annual Pittsfield Town Meeting.

He also knows that taxes are unavoidable, a way to better serve towns throughout the Granite State, and he says Pittsfield’s tax increase is reasonable, considering what’s happening in other towns.

“Taxes go up all the time,” said Anderson, whose term runs through next year. “We tried to hold things in check, but replacing things like equipment is expensive.”

The town is seeking an operational budget of $5.74 million. The default budget is $5.17 million, the same as last year’s budget. The tax impact would be $9.04 per thousand dollars of assessed value, compared to $8.48 last year, which amounts to $168 more a year for a house worth $300,000.

“Each town has to spend on something that it will need,” Anderson said. “If you want the current level of service, it will cost you more money, and if you don’t want to spend the extra money, then you have to cut services.”

Other items on the warrant include: complying with the National Flood Insurance Program’s floodplain management policies; raising $250,000 to buy a dump truck, with $176,000 coming from the public works highway truck capital reserve fund and $74,000 from taxation; raising $63,000 to purchase a police cruiser; and $450,000 for a tanker truck, with grant revenue of $400,000 combining with $50,000 from a fire department fund.

“It’s a pretty dull warrant,” Anderson said. “I don’t know anything in particular that’s controversial.”

On the school side, the operational budget of $10.9 million would be an increase of $520,400, a 5% increase over the current budget. Most of the hike comes from an 18.6% rise in health insurance costs. 

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Also, the school district wants more special education para-educators, after three roles were cut last year. Other potential cuts to lower the budget include the yet-to-be-filled foreign language and math teachers, and cutting money from the school budgets and grants for the reading and guidance specialists.

The town meeting will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Pittsfield Middle High School gym. The school meeting is scheduled for Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. at the PMHS Library.

The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on town election day, March 12.