Plymouth top 5 a diverse mix

October 1st, 2004 by Adam

PLYMOUTH – The top property taxpayers in Plymouth are a diverse
group including a “big-box” chain store, an electric utility, an inn, and two
large real estate holding companies.

The assessed values of all their properties
combined is far below that of the town’s largest landholder, Plymouth State University,
which pays no property taxes.

PLYMOUTH
2003 Tax Rate: …………………………………………………………………………………..$40.30
Total valuation: ………………………………………………………………………………$178,374,829
Town tax rate: …………………………………………………………………………………………….$17.03
Local school rate: ……………………………………………………………………………………$15.96
State school rate: ………………………………………………………………………………………..$5.48
County rate:…………………………………………………………………………………………………..$1.83

But the university becomes one of the town’s largest contributors when it
begins paying $361,000 for the services agreement it recently inked with the
town. It does not make PSU a taxpayer, however, since university system institutions
are prohibited by law from paying property taxes or payments in lieu of taxes
to local governments.

In order of highest assessed values of 2003 were PSU, Wal-Mart,
New Hampshire Electric Cooperative, Alex Ray LLC, and Riverbrook Realty. With
the listing of the five highest property taxpayers, however, PSU drops out and
Plymouth Partners joins the bottom of the list as number five.

Oddly enough, it is followed in sixth place by another non-profit, Speare Memorial Hospital,
which pays no taxes on its main hospital building on Hospital Road, but pays
about $90,000 on six parcels it owns on Highland, Cummings, Langdon and Avery
streets for ancillary buildings.

TOP TAXPAYERS (valuation/taxes paid)
1) Wal-Mart ………………………………………………………………………($10,069,600/$405,805)
2) New Hampshire Electric Cooperative…………………($7,143,900/$287,900)
3) Alex Ray LLC……………………………………………………………..($3,554,800/$143,258/$)
4) Riverbrook Realty………………………………………………………..($3,435,000/$138,430)
5) Plymouth Partners ………………………………………………………..($1,752,700/$70,633)

PSU’s 25 parcels in the heart of Plymouth have an assessed value of $52,812,000,
equivalent to nearly 29.6 percent of the town’s total official Department of Revenue
Administration valuation of $178,374,829.

Together, the current top five taxpayers
have a combined assessed value of $25,956,000, which is about 14.6 percent of
the DRA valuation.

The town’s tax rate is currently $40.30 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

Wal-Mart’s holdings in Plymouth are owned by Wal-Mart Real Estate and
were assessed at $10,069,600. The land the company paid $880,000 for just three
years ago is currently valued at $2,380,900. The remainder is comprised of yard
and building values.

The company paid $405,805 in 2003 property taxes.

Local Wal-Mart officials refer inquiries to their Bentonville, Ark., headquarters
which did not return phone calls.

New Hampshire Electric Cooperative’s headquarters are on Tenney
Mountain Highway in Plymouth where most of its local property holdings are, but
it is also taxed on substations on Green Street and Fairgrounds Road and for its
distribution lines throughout the town. Its property assets are valued at $7,143,900
and it paid $287,900 in taxes.

“Obviously in Plymouth, taxes are a constant source
of discussion,” said NHEC Public Relations and Marketing Coordinator Seth Wheeler. “We
pay more taxes in Plymouth, but we also pay taxes in 116 towns and cities in New
Hampshire. That’s roughly $3 million in property taxes. And although we don’t
contribute to local school taxes, we do send our share to the state, about $700,000.

Even where it doesn’t have facilities, it pays taxes on more than 5,000 miles
of power lines, Wheeler said.

“We’re primarily a distribution company. We take power
from Public Service of New Hampshire at the substations and send it out on our
lines.”

Despite the high values of their properties on Tenney Mountain Highway,
earlier discussion about possibly moving their headquarters are “on hold at this
point,”Wheeler said.”We’re staying put for the time being.”

With his Common Man
Inn and Spa open just over a year and a half, Alex Ray is already number three
in the list of top taxpayers. His three parcels on Main Street are valued at $3,554,800
for a total tax bill of $143,258.

“Actually,” said the entertainment entrepreneur, “it
feels good to be a contributor to the economics of Plymouth. I’m very interested
in not just paying my taxes, but being part of the process. I think that includes
awareness of issues in town and attendance at public meetings, as well as taking
a part in non-governmental activities, whatever they might be. That’s what makes
a community go forward, not only the tax contributions, but direct involvement.”

He said he hopes to see the town apply its resources intelligently, with no one
person or entity over-affecting its direction.

The fourth largest taxpayer, Riverbrook
Realty, owns four parcels at 389 Tenney Mountain Highway valued at $3,435,000.
Its tax bill for those properties is about $138,430.

Fifth largest is Plymouth
Partners, which owns two parcels on Morgan Drive. The total value of those properties