The Coalition of NH Taxpayers helps individuals who help themselves – it works best that way. Occasionally we get lucky and find a group and an issue that expose problems taxpayers in NH have that touch on the many types of personalities involved, municipal functions, state laws, and the state buearocracy.
We have a “Tri-Fecta” in Windsor - call it a “hat trick” if you want a hockey analogy.
Windsor taxpayers contacted CNHT for some help with the clique that runs that small town. It seems some people had not paid property taxes for up to six years. You can make a ton of loyal friends by forgiving taxes if you are a selectman.
But as all Ponzi schemes surely end so has minority rule in Windsor. The powers that be are still in office but the thrones are so much more uncomfortable than in years past.
So is a certain chair in Concord. It belongs to one Sandra Burke of the glorious NH Dept. of Revenue.
Under state statute the DRA sets the tax rate for municipalities.
21-J:35 Setting of Tax Rates by Commissioner. –
I. The commissioner of revenue administration shall compute and establish the tax rate of each town, city, or unincorporated place. Any assessments report issued by the commissioner pursuant to RSA 21-J:11-a shall not delay or otherwise affect the setting of the tax rate for that municipality.
II. To compute and establish the tax rates of towns, cities and unincorporated places under paragraph I, the commissioner shall examine the reports required under RSA 21-J:34 to ensure that:
(a) All appropriations have been made in a manner which is consistent with procedural requirements established by statute.
(b) No appropriations have been made which are prohibited by statute.
© All revenues have been estimated accurately and in a manner which is not prohibited by statute.
(d) All calculations are correct.
III. If the commissioner finds that appropriations were made in a manner which is inconsistent with statute he shall delete the appropriation or that portion in question.
IV. If the commissioner finds that the estimated revenues included are inaccurate or inappropriate he shall adjust the estimates in question.
V. The commissioner shall notify in writing the governing body of each city or town of the rate he has established. This notification shall include a detailed explanation of all changes made in the appropriations or revenue estimates submitted by the municipality or district in question.
VI. Any town, city, or unincorporated place which is dissatisfied with the tax rate set under this section may, within 10 days of notification, request an oral hearing on this matter before the commissioner of revenue administration. If such a request is made, the commissioner shall promptly schedule and conduct a hearing pursuant to rules he shall adopt under RSA 541-A. After hearing, the decision of the commissioner shall be final.
Source. 1987, 285:4, eff. July 1, 1987. 2001, 158:57, eff. Sept. 3, 2001. 2003, 307:9, eff. July 1, 2003.
So the DRA is in charge of Windsor’s tax rate – sort of.
All Windsor has to do is supply things like records as in RSA 21-J:34 which says in part:
V. A financial report for each city, town, school district, village district, or county shall be filed showing the summary of receipts and expenditures, according to uniform classifications, during the preceding fiscal year, and a balance sheet showing assets and liabilities at the close of the year. This report shall be submitted on or before April 1 if the municipality keeps its accounts on a calendar year basis, or on or before September 1 if the municipality keeps its accounts on an optional fiscal year basis pursuant to RSA 31:94-a. School districts shall submit financial reports on or before September 1 of each year.
But The Coalition of Windsor Taxpayers has letters from the DRA going back ten years or so that show the town fathers do not submit everything they are supposed to. For instance this year the Town Treasurer did not submit a Treasurer’s Report - the straw that broke the camel’s hat trick so to speak.
So if the DRA sets the tax rate but the Windsor Clique does not give them data……..?
Are we just making up tax rates for towns now? That is what it looks like.
Since September 21, 2007 the taxpayer group in Windsor has been trying to open a dialogue with their DRA representative, Sandra Rourke, to no avail. A simple little town with 250 residents and the DRA can’t do its job.
What gives? Could it be that the DRA is a toothless paper tiger or an incompetent hackarama?
And they are the ones the tax and spenders want in charge of a broad based tax?