Hampstead Selectmen Not Ready to Change Elderly Exemption

HAMPSTEAD – The Board of Selectmen discussed the town’s Elderly Exemption criteria and looked at a number of surrounding towns’ data before concluding that without public input requesting specific changes, they weren’t inclined to make any.
However, the board was open to tabling the issue Monday night until the next scheduled selectmen’s meeting on Oct. 12 to see if there is any public input on the issue. Hampstead currently allows Elderly Exemption single income of $32,500 and married income of $40,000, with a single and married asset limit of $100,000.

Comparing this to neighboring towns, Hampstead is roughly in the middle area, with Atkinson with the same assets limits but allowing single income of $34,700 and married income of $43,500, and Fremont allowing single income of $25,000 and married income of $45,000, with asset limits for married and singles of $45,000. Plaistow allows income of $38,000 for singles and $53,000 for married, with asset limits of $80,000 for singles and married, while Sandown has a single income limit of $50,000 and $70,000 for married, with asset limits of $200,000 for both single and married. Raymond has a lower single income limit of $27,000 for singles and $37,000 for married, with asset limit of $70,000 for both.
Selectman Rick Hartung said that without specific requests from the public, he was not in favor of making any changes, and Selectwoman Priscilla Lindquist said she was comfortable with where Hampstead was. Chairman Sean Murphy suggested that some people might be ineligible by a few hundred dollars and so a small adjustment might be worthwhile. The others said when people have come in with similar issues the board has generally granted them eligibility, but it is on a case by case basis.
In other business:
• The board discussed the upcoming budget and issued a call for no increase to the budget bottom line if possible. The board members were all in agreement that they didn’t want to see any increases if at all possible, but Hartung pointed out that the big bites for the new police building and the highway work on West Road will be one-time items that will not be included in the next budget.
“We should concentrate on what we need as opposed to what we want and deliver a level-funded budget,” Murphy said.
• Murphy read a letter of resignation from the Police Building Committee into the record from Paul Wentworth. Murphy said he had contacted legal authorities at the New Hampshire Local Government Center and was told that before Wentworth could accept the Clerk of the Works position on the police station building construction project, he would have to resign from the committee, and that is what he is doing.
The board accepted his resignation and thanked him for his service.

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