Aldermen on Manchester’s Committee on Administration met last night to review recommendations from the Board of Assessors that would adjust the property tax exemptions granted to elderly and disable citizens. The committee acted to recommend an increase in the elderly exemption, which already costs taxpayers almost two point four million dollars annually. If accepted by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, the qualifying income limits for the one hundred nine thousand five hundred dollar reduction on a senior’s property value will rise from thirty two thousand
dollars a year to thirty seven for single elders and from forty five thousand dollars per year for an elderly couple to fifty. Asset levels will increase from seventy five grand to ninety thousand for a single senior and from one hundred thousand to one hundred fifteen for an elderly couple. Despite the assessors’ inability to provide an estimate of how much that will cost the city, the committee recommended that it not only be put into effect this year, but that the application period be extended so the newly eligible can take advantage of the credit.
The committee also recommended Manchester’s ridiculously generous property tax exemption for the disabled be reduced. Currently, disabled folks, whether married or single, can earn up to one hundred thousand dollars per year and have as much as two hundred grand in assets and still qualify for a one hundred forty thousand dollar property tax exemption in the value of their property. That exemption costs taxpayers one point seven million dollars a year. The committee acted to recommend reducing the exemption to equal that given to senior citizens which is projected to add about a quarter of a million dollars in revenue for the coming year’s budget. The committee also recommended the income and asset levels be lowered to those of that qualify senior citizens for the elderly exemption, but not until next year. Board of Assessors Chair Bob Gagne told Girard at Large that would likely cut the nearly six hundred exemptions currently granted in half. Manchester’s current exemption is so generous it has more of them granted than the rest of the state of New Hampshire combined.
The committee also voted to adopt the Right to Know Policy proposed by Ward 10 Alderman Bill Barry. City Solicitor Tom Clark reiterated his support for the document despite our protest, which is posted with this newscast. He called our challenge to the redaction requirements quote unquote “absurd” and said nothing we presented in objection to the policy warranted changing the policy. After the vote, Alderman at Large Joe Kelly Levasseur proclaimed another victory for him and another loss for me, in his out loud Alderman voice, said that it felt good and called me a punk before walking off to sit with dog park critic John Hopwood on the other side of the gallery, after which he patted Barry on the shoulder, telling him he did a good job, then went into the Aldermen’s anteroom and invited Hopwood back for a private chat that lasted about fifteen minutes. Nope, can’t make this stuff up.
News form our own backyard continues after this.
The draft Manchester Academic Standards for Math are coming under fire by experts in the field. Ze’ev Wurman, a former Department of Education official in the George W. Bush Administration, has reviewed the standards and isn’t impressed. Wurman, who served on the California Academic Content Standards Commission that evaluated the suitability of Common Core’s standards for California in two thousand ten, wrote that Manchester’s proposed standards were little more than Common Core’s and noted there was only one area of difference and that was in Geometry. We’ve linked to his comments from this newscast at Girard at Large dot com. Meanwhile, Dr. James Milgram, who was instrumental in the development of California’s pre Common Core math standards, which have been recognized as among the best in the nation, reviewed the standards at our request and wrote the following in response: ” The standards are, as far as I can tell, very similar to Common Core, except for the geometry standards which are different and better. There are still no standards past Algebra II, so these standards, like CCSI essentially continue to write off the top 30% of high school students.” Looks like the idea to school the teachers working on the project in the Common Core Standards has produced more Common Core like standards. Who’d a thunk that? Oh wait…
A couple of quick hits on things we’ll be discussing this morning. Monsignor Ed Arsenault was sentenced to four years in prison and ordered to repay nearly three hundred thousand dollars he stole from the Diocese of Manchester while carrying on an illicit homosexual love affair yesterday. Arsenault apologized saying he’d broken the law and betrayed trust. The judge urged him to do good works while in prison. Bishop Peter Libasci and former Bishop John McCormack issued a statement which we’ve posted and will take up as it begs a lot of questions.
The AG has cleared the two cops in Weare who shot and killed a Manchester man in what has been called a drug bust gone bad of any wrong doing. We’ll discuss with Jim Gaudet this morning in Public Safety This Week. We’ve published the report with this newscast.
Police departments in Merrimack, Auburn and Goffstown have issued reminders about their participation in the Drug Take Back program which will be held this Saturday from ten to two.
And finally, the House passed the proposed twenty three percent hike in the gas tax yesterday. Governor Margaret Wood Hassan can’t wait to sign the bill so the state can keep diverting money it should, by law, be spending on roads, on other things.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is straight ahead.