Monadnock Ledger-Transcript – Money loss could impact Peterborough property taxpayers

By on September 15, 2021 0

For the ledger-transcription

Posted: 09/15/2021 15:47:48 PM

In a typical year, the Select Board would take money out of an unrestricted fund balance account to reduce property taxes in the City of Peterborough.

But it’s not a normal year.

Selectmen will consider making a withdrawal from this fund, which now contains $ 3 million, on Tuesday to help fill the shortfall caused by a $ 2.3 million email fraud that victimized City Hall during the last year. ‘summer.

City administrator Nicole MacStay said that due to the withdrawal the fund is unlikely to be available this year to reduce the tax burden.

“It’s absolutely negative,” MacStay said. “It removes or limits the ability of selectmen to impact the city’s share of the tax rate.”

Last year $ 900,000 was taken from the fund to reduce taxes.

Peterborough’s combined property tax rate of $ 30.84 per $ 1,000 of assessed assessment is one of the highest in the state.

Another potential impact for taxpayers could arise if money were to be returned to the fund to bring it back to a healthy level so that it would be available in the future when needed.

The exact impact is difficult to assess until it is known how much of the stolen money can be recovered and how much of the loss can be covered by insurance. The Secret Service has recovered $ 594,000 so far.

MacStay compared the unallocated fund balance to a family budget and a personal checking account. A family can have the money they need each month to pay their bills. It would be earmarked funds.

If there is any money left after the bills, it would be similar to an unallocated fund balance.

“Usually the unrestricted fund balance is used to help us meet cash flow needs throughout the year,” she said. “To use that analogy, this is the city’s main checking account.”

The fraud that was carried out against the city used emails that persuaded city officials to change the route of payments destined for the ConVal school district and Beck & Belluci, the contractor working on the street bridge project. main.

The money that was recovered was that intended for Beck & Belluci. The payment to the school district was not recovered, MacStay said.

Now all but two of the city’s payments are made by paper checks. The Internal Revenue Service and the New Hampshire Retirement System require electronic fund transfers.

MacStay said if the city received any other rerouting requests on electronic money transfers, “we would take a magnifying glass for that and review that before we implement anything.”

She said the city had received no further word from investigators about the possibility of recovering more of the stolen money.

Requests for information to the secret services on the case were not immediately returned.

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