Lyndeborough faces year-end issue after tax bills are sent out late

LYNDEBOROUGH – The school district budget shortfall has caused tax bills to be sent out about three weeks later than usual, causing a year-end cash flow problem for the town. The tax rate can’t be set until after a special school district meeting on Nov. 9. Tax bills are normally sent out toward the end of October with taxes due 30 days later.

The Board of Selectmen expressed their frustrations to School District Superintendent Bryan Lane at their regular meeting on Oct. 23.

Selectman Fred Douglas asked, “When do you expect payment from Lyndeborough? Bills are due on Nov. 10 and Dec. 10. If we don’t have it, where do we get it? We have funded the school appropriately. The town portion of the tax bills is flat. I will not see a taxpayer increase to where we put old people out of their homes. To affect that, we have to cut town expenses.”

Board Chairman Mark Chamberlain added, “It is very difficult for us if the school budget keeps going up.”

Lane was at the meeting to explain a deficit of $305,000 in the school budget. The school is hoping to use additional state adequacy aid to cut the deficit, along with freezing the current budget, eliminating budget transfers, “and holding the line on spending.” The money cannot be used without a vote of the district.

The deficit, Lane said, was caused by “three areas:” unexpected rises in salaries and benefits, items (for unexplained reasons) not budgeted, and underestimating some expenses, as well as several unanticipated special needs students. The district’s reserve finds have been drawn down.

Town Administrator Russ Boland said the town has some options: seek a tax anticipation loan at a cost of about $6,000, or delay some payments until funds are available (after the tax bills are sent out).

After some discussion, the board told Lane the December payment would be sent “when we have the money,” but it should be only a week or two late.

Following Lane’s departure, the board met with Budget Committee Member Burton Reynolds to discuss the town’s Capital Improvements Plan. Several purchases have been delayed in order to keep the bottom line even.