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Hikes in tax rates vary across ANeSU towns

BRISTOL — Property tax rates in the next fiscal year will increase in a range from less than 1 percent to 5.5 percent in the five towns of the Addison Northeast Supervisory Union (ANeSU).
The new rates will mean increases in taxes on residential properties valued at $200,000 ranging from $37 outside the Bristol police district to $304 in Starksboro.
Each town also has a non-residential property rate, which applies to businesses and any property that isn’t the primary home of its owner.
Selectboards in Bristol, Lincoln, New Haven and Starksboro have all set their municipal rates, which cover town expenses and typically account for about a fourth of each town’s property tax. Educational rates account for the rest of the tax, and all five towns including Monkton have received their educational rates from the state.
Most homeowners in Vermont qualify for property tax relief from the state. In New Haven, for example, 73 percent of households qualified for state tax relief for an average amount of close to $1,500 in 2008. These numbers are typical for the five-town area.
Below is information about each town’s rate:
· The Bristol selectboard set the town’s tax rates at a meeting Monday night. The residential rate increased to $2.04 per $100 of assessed property value outside the police district, and $2.31 inside the district. These are 0.84 and 1.3 percent increases, respectively.
Non-residential rates increased by less than 1 percent to $2.17 outside the police district and 2.43 inside the district.
These new rates mean that a Bristol resident would pay a tax of $4,628 on residential property within the police district valued at $200,000. That would be an increase of $60, assuming that that the resident doesn’t qualify for tax relief.
Property taxes are due in Bristol in two installments on Nov. 5 and April 3.
· Next year’s residential rate in Starksboro will be $1.90 per $100, and the new non-residential rate will be $1.96.
These increases of 5.5 and 2.3 percent, respectively, come as a result of increased educational tax rates — the Starksboro selectboard lowered the town’s municipal rate by 2 percent on July 5.
The new rate will mean that Starksboro residents will pay $3,913 on a property valued at $200,000, an increase of $304.
Starksboro residents can still pay taxes without penalty on either Sept. 1 or Nov. 1.
· New Haven’s residential rate will be $2.33 per $100, and the selectboard set the town’s non-residential rate at $2.41 on July 6.
The increase will mean that a homeowner would have to pay an additional $176 this year on a property valued at $200,000. New Haven taxes are due Oct. 1.
· The Monkton selectboard will set its municipal rate Aug. 9. The state recently sent the town a recommendation of a 7 percent increase in the residential educational rate.
However, town treasurer Charles Roumas explained the he will recommend a 9-cent decrease in the town’s municipal rate, which he hopes will offset the bulk of the educational tax increase.
Roumas estimated that if the selectboard adopts his proposal, the residential tax rate will increase by only 1 percent.
The state called for an increase of about 1 percent to the non-residential educational rate. Monkton taxes must be received by Nov. 15.
TRANSITION IN LINCOLN
Lincoln is in the process of transitioning from a calendar year budget to a fiscal year budget in order to better coordinate with the school district. The town has thus budgeted for an 18-month period, which includes two town meetings.
The town also reappraised its property this year in order to avoid continuing to pay state penalties for inaccurate property-value estimates. These two factors make it difficult to compare this year’s rates to last year’s.
However, selectboard member Barbara Rainville estimated that most residents will pay about the same amount they did last year.
Rainville added that she sees the reappraisal as valuable to the community both because it eliminates the state penalty and because it increases homeowner equity in most cases.
“Reappraisal is an opportunity for people to be assured their property is being assessed correctly,” she said.
Next year’s rates will be $1.97 per $100 for residential property and $2.02 for non-residential property.
Lincoln residents should receive their bills in the coming days, and payments are due Oct. 12 and March 10.
Reporter George Altshuler is at georgea@addisonindependent.com.

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