City Council budget meetings are in progress, and also are open to the public. For a budget overview, please see the City Manager’s presentation. The City’s recommendation is for a 1.92% budget increase. Of this additional funding, .25% (one quarter percent) would be devoted toward the City’s road paving program to give that a further boost. You can see from the second page of the presentation that Merrimack Valley school district residents continue to pay a higher tax rate because the MV portion remains higher than that of the Concord School District.
A few highlights for Penacook: Capital Improvement Project (CIP) #567 calls for $50,000 to provide planning for a riverside park at the former Tannery site. CIP #466 calls for $360,000 for more upgrades to the Penacook Wastewater Treatment plant. Funding is sustained for the Penacook Community Center at $28,000. Funding for a Merrimack Valley Middle School resource officer is a $26,500 25% shared city cost, with MV supplying the additional 75%. The Whitney Road CIP #30 is $100,000 for conceptual intersection design (to improve traffic conditions at the intersection of Rte 4), and CIP #502 is $52,700 for survey work for potential roadway extension design; both of these utilize Impact Fees for the funding, so this is not coming from our taxes.
A few other general highlights: Concord still enjoys a "AA+" Standard & Poor’s bond rating and Concord was cited for its strong budgetary responsibility with strong management policies and priorities. This rating is important because it sends a signal to investors that Concord is a secure investment for municipal bond purchases. Also, it plays a critical role in determining how much interest Concord must pay on their issued debt. Concord needs the sale of bonds to finance many ongoing and future projects. This superior rating means borrowing is less expensive and those savings can be passed on to taxpayers. To put this in a little more perspective, Concord’s debt service takes up 18% of our property tax payments, and the remaining 82% of our property taxes goes to Police, Fire, and General Services departments.
Interesting budget facts: Insurance on all City employees costs $9 million. Every 1% increase in the budget represents $420,000 in revenue to the City. The City has received a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada for the 24th year in a row; Concord has the statewide record for this award.
Update [June 25, 2019]:
City Council just passed the FY2020 budget. An additional highlight for Penacook is work to be performed on sewer linings on portions of Merrimack Street, Village Street (from Bonney St. to #88 Village St.), Chandler St., and Stark St. Residents affected will be notified by the City in advance.