to the Problem
There are so many ways to solve the problem we cannot list them all here, however, we will present broad categories of solutions. NHPVRTA believes the best solution is for the State to pass legislation that would allow the cities and towns to use public funds to take care of residential private roads. This is the preferred solution because it is simple and addresses the fundamental inequity. This could be as simple as passing changes to RSA 231:59 and RSA 231:81-a. The wide variation of residential private roads across the State can be dealt with by the municipalities. If they feel they need to improve the construction of the legacy roads, then perhaps a fund could be setup for this purpose by the State (the Residential Private Road Improvement Fund) in a new Private Road Statute.
The second broad category that has been discussed is some kind of tax credit to residential private road taxpayers. This solution could take different forms, but we feel the only solution that would be fair is a dollar for dollar credit for whatever the taxpayer pays for road maintenance including special assessments which occur at times because the association has underfunded the liability of road maintenance (and sewer and water maintenance where applicable). This solution would require the State to publish a schedule of services and expected costs for various types of recurring expenses associated with roads, water and sewer systems.
The only way we see a tax credit solution working is that the individual property owners would have to apply on an annual basis for the credit. They would fill out a form (created by a statute) and then submit it to their city or town every year. We don’t see a way for the cities and towns coming up with some standard credit that would work for all residential private road taxpayers within their jurisdiction. The main reasons why a tax credit is not our preferred solution is that it is complex, does not address the fundamental problem of lack of access to services and most importantly it does not address the issue of the safety of the roads.
The third category of this solution is to getting back to a new Private Road Statute. We believe the construction of sub-standard roads by developers should be stopped by the State. It is a policy and practice that sets up the residential private road taxpayers to subsidize public road maintenance (with no reciprocity). The municipalities are taking advantage of these taxpayers, and shifting all of their responsibilities and liabilities onto these taxpayers. The construction of sub-standard roads should be stopped.
If none of the above solutions are realized, there are potential compromise solutions that could be discussed, but NHPVRTA is not seeking compromise. We are seeking to advance the safety of NH roads while seeking fairness and equity for NH Private Road Taxpayers. We are hopeful the NH legislature will do the right thing.