2 Puzzle Pieces

The Problem Statement

NHPVRTA is a NH Domestic Non-Profit Corporation. NHPVRTA advocates for residential private road taxpayers in the state of New Hampshire. Cities and towns across NH treat residential private roads differently than they do residential public roads.  The State of NH does not have a Legislative Classification for residential private roads. Residential private road properties are taxed in the same manner as properties located on residential public roads. Private roads are not required to be built to the same specifications as public roads. This results in roads that are less reliable and inherently less safe compared to public roads. This puts private road property owners in a risky position from both a financial and safety standpoint.

 

Residential private roads do not receive the same level of services as their public road counterparts. Property owners on residential private roads pay for all costs associated with their roads including but not limited to plowing, installation and replacement of drainage culverts, plant control, and repaving the road. These are services that cities and towns are required to provide to public road residents and taxpayers in those communities pay for, including private road residents.

 

Private road taxpayers use the term “double-tax” to describe the treatment they are getting.  In fact, it is much worse than a “double-tax”.  If maintenance of residential private roads were included in the budgets of cities and towns, the cost per taxpayer would be far less than the burden placed on residential private road taxpayers.  The costs associated with road maintenance for a 72-unit development will cost much more per owner than if the cost was spread across the entire taxpayer base.  The cost weighs heavily against the private road taxpayers.

Common Expenses Associated with Private Roads

Dollars

Here are the most common examples of costs that are the responsibility of residential private road taxpayers that are not realized by residential public road taxpayers.

  • Snow plowing/sanding and street cleaning

  • Road repair materials e.g. stone, gravel, tar

  • Road repair and/or grading equipment

  • Guard Rail maintenance and repair

  • Sidewalk maintenance and repairs

  • Community Mailboxes and associated maintenance.

  • Drainage, ditches and sewers for storm water management

  •  cleaning sewers and compliance with MS4 Requirements (EPA).

  • Underground utility infrastructure like water, sewer, electric, gas

  • Fire Emergency water sources, e.g. fire hydrants, water holding tanks and associated maintenance (some developments pay monthly fees for fire hydrants)

  •  Sewer pumping stations and associated maintenance

  • Cost of forming a legal road Association

  • Liability Insurance for Road and Homeowner Associations

  • Capital Reserve Fund for maintenance of capital assets

 

Another issue that is less noticeable is a disproportionate utility rate problem. Some of these private road developments, especially newer ones, have private water and sewer systems that connect to city utilities. The utility rate payers on residential private roads pay the same rates as all of the other subscribers, but they have to pay for maintenance and repair of their utility infrastructure. If the Sewer Main breaks on their road, a repair could easily cost $30,000. If this happened on a public road, it costs nothing to the public road ratepayers.