FERRISBURGH — The Ferrisburgh selectboard on Tuesday set the town’s tax rates for the 2014-2015 fiscal year, and both residential and non-residential rates, as expected, saw significant increases.
The new overall residential rate is $1.7893, up by about 24 cents from the previous fiscal year rate of $1.5474. Treasurer Garrit Smits reminded the board, and about 10 residents at the town office building, that high per-pupil spending rates are pushing school tax rates higher.
Of the overall residential rate, $0.2336 will pay for town services, while $1.5557 funds schools. Town officials noted the municipal portion of the rate is almost 2 cents lower than this past year.
The increase would mean a roughly $240 annual tax increase per $100,000 of assessed value for homeowners who are not eligible for prebates under the income sensitivity provisions of Vermont’s education funding law.
More than 60 percent of Ferrisburgh homeowners received prebates, according to state data for the most recent year for which information is available.
Ferrisburgh’s new non-residential rate is $1.7187, including the same $0.2336 for town services and $1.5681 for schools.
That rate, which applies to rental and commercial property as well as second homes, including many lakefront properties, rose about 15 cents, or $150 per $100,000 of assessed value.
Although Addison Northwest Supervisory Union school tax rates rose this year, they are still far from the highest in Addison County. Middlebury’s residential rate rose by 8.4 cents to $2.7117 for the 2014-2015 fiscal year, while the Vergennes municipal rate rose 9 cents to 72.5 cents, with a combined town/school tax rate estimated to be $2.165 for the upcoming year.
The selectboard also heard from Ferrisburgh Recreation Committee members Martha Davis and Timothy Bicknell that work should begin this fall on a skating rink/basketball court on the southwest corner of Ferrisburgh Central School property.
They told selectmen the project had to be scaled back and altered slightly. Plans had called for a 110-foot-by-60-foot concrete slab, but what the committee had hoped was a sandy base proved to be clay, requiring the expense of excavation and fill, the substitution of asphalt for concrete, and a slightly smaller surface.
“We had to make some adjustments due to funding, of course,” Bicknell said.
In June, the committee said it had $15,000 in hand when it undertook a $35,000 fundraising effort to support this first phase of what it hopes will eventually be a covered year-round facility.
Davis said when the rink and hoop court is installed it will help that effort.
“Once we have the facility, the fundraising will be a little easier,” she said.
When this phase is over, it will include a 10-by-20-foot shed that will serve as a warming hut during the winter and storage during the summer.
“It will be similar to what’s in Vergennes and Bristol,” Davis said.
Bicknell said there are still no plans to seek taxpayer help, but the committee will instead continue to rely on donations and grants.
“The whole push has been to do this privately,” he said.
In other business on Tuesday, the selectboard:
• Adopted the parking law on which it had been working in recent months. When it takes effect after a legal warning period, it will ban parking on the traveled portion of town roads for more than 15 minutes without permission from the selectboard, prohibit leaving cars on town property for more than 12 hours, and create a winter parking ban on town roads from Nov. 1 to April 15 between the hours of midnight and 8 a.m.
Violators could have their vehicles towed at their expense and be subject to fines. The board also approved citation forms to go along with the new ordinance.
• Voted to install air conditioning on the second floor of the town office building. Chairwoman Loretta Lawrence said the town will dip into a $12,000 fund left over from the original construction of the duplicate Grange Hall to fund air conditioning and necessary electrical work.
• Heard an update from car dealer Tom Denecker on his efforts to obtain a state permit to relocate onto town-owned land at the junction of Routes 7 and 22A, a parcel that he is contracted to buy from Ferrisburgh; see related story.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected]