Sep. 5—MANCHESTER HOMEOWNERS are bracing for preliminary value notices that are being sent out this week after the city’s latest revaluation.
Manchester is required by state law to reappraise all local real estate at least every five years. The last revaluation was performed five years ago.
Assessor Bob Gagne said in November 2020 the city’s overall property value was pegged at $9,296,887,624.
As of Aug. 31, the estimated full market value exceeds $13 billion — a 40% increase, based on new construction and market changes.
Gagne said preliminary value notices were on track to be mailed to residential and commercial property owners on Friday, which will likely put them in mailboxes across Manchester by mid-week.
“When people get their new values, they should not apply the old tax rate, because if they do, their heads will probably explode,” Gagne said.
Gagne said when the 40% increase in the tax base is applied to the current tax rate of $24.66, the resulting tax rate will drop to somewhere around $18.
“To narrow it down a little more, I expect it will be somewhere between $17.50 and $18,” said Gagne.
The new assessments were determined by reviewing all permits and sales between April 1, 2020 and April 1, 2021, updated construction costs, land values and income and capitalization rates for the commercial properties, Gagne said.
The rates and values were then tested against qualified sales occurring between April 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021, “to ensure they are at market value,” Gagne said.
Gagne provided a breakdown of the value change by land class and residential building style:
Single Family — 46%
Residential Condos — 52%
Two Family — 64%
Three Family — 61%
Four to Eight Family — 76%
Apartment — 57%
Vacant Land — 41%
Commercial — 14%
Industrial — 21% (excluding utilities)
Mixed Use — 22%
Mobile Home — 40%
Exempt — 28%
“For the most part, people know what’s going on in the market,” Gagne said. “They know what the house up the street or down the street sold for, what duplexes are selling for. Those are the numbers we’re capturing, and the results are what it is.
“I know some people will come after the assessor with pitchforks. We’re just looking at what the market is doing, and applying those numbers to the assessments, which is what we’re required to do by constitution and by state law.”
The new median assessed value for a single family home in Manchester is $304,300, an increase of 46%.
The new median assessed value for duplexes is $338,600, up 64%. Three-family homes come in at $385,700 — a 61% jump.
“There’s no nefarious intent in the background to hit people,” Gagne said. “You notice two-family and and three-family homes showing pretty significant increases. That’s not by design… that’s by default. And people understand what the properties have been selling for.
“If they think something’s wrong, they need to let us know about it. We’re pretty confident that these numbers hold up pretty well with the sales that have been going on.”
Any property owner wishing to have their new assessment reviewed with a representative of Vision Government Solutions can schedule a telephone appointment by calling 888-844-4300 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday or by going to www.vgsi.com/schedules, clicking on Manchester, NH Hearings and following the instructions.
In-person hearings will be scheduled for residents who request them.
The new tax rate will be finalized near the end of November 2021.
Tax rates are set by the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration.
“We will try to get our info to them by Nov. 1,” Gagne said. “As long as they get everything from the other departments, they generally can get a tax rate calculated for us within three or four days.”
Mayoral candidate Richard Girard issued a statement last week calling on city officials to submit the necessary paperwork to the Department of Revenue Administration no later than Oct. 20 — so tax bills can be generated before the municipal election on Nov. 2.
“People should know how hard they’ve been hit by the tax man before they go to vote,” Girard said. “The city can, and ought to make sure those tax bills arrive before people vote. This has the potential to stunt the growth of residential property values while driving rents higher as property owners move to recover their dramatically higher taxes.”
Residents can look up their property’s tax value at gis.vgsi.com/manchesternh.
Funds for library upgrades
The Manchester City Library Foundation received $13,215 in grant funding through American Rescue Plan Act funds, the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the New Hampshire State Library.
Library Director Denise van Zanten said last week the library used the funds to purchase two secure charging stations for patrons’ personal electronic devices for use in either of the library buildings.
New meeting room chairs also were purchased for the main library’s Winchell Room.
Bike Tour next weekend
The 2021 Bike Tour, a fundraiser for the Manchester Conservation Commission, will be held Sept. 12 at 7:30 a.m.
The route of the tour is 30 miles (with an additional 10-mile option) around the city. Sights along the route include Rock Rimmon, the Piscataquog Rail Trail, the Nutts Pond Recreation Trail, the Aviation Museum at the Airport, Lake Massabesic and the Historic Weston Observatory.
The tour starts and ends at Eversource Energy Park, 780 North Commercial St.
The ride starts at 7:30 a.m. and ends around 12 p.m.
Registration is $25. Children 6-13 are $10. Children under 6 are free.
The tour includes T-shirts, rest stops, bike support and a lunch at the end of the ride.
To participate, register online at the Commission’s Eventbrite page at eventbrite.com/e/2021-manchester-bike-tour-tickets-165905883965 or sign up at the event. Arrive early for on-site registration. Only cash will be accepted.
Paul Feely is the City Hall reporter for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.