Bridport in line for school tax refund

BRIDPORT — The Addison Central Supervisory Union is asking the state to credit the town of Bridport for $12,139 in excess education property taxes the community paid this academic year.
At issue is an accounting error — made either at the ACSU or Vermont Department of Education level — through which the Bridport school’s recent capital expenses were factored into the community’s per-pupil spending level. The inclusion of those capital expenses caused Bridport’s per-pupil spending to run afoul of Act 68 — the state’s education finance law — to the point where the town was assessed a financial penalty.
But that penalty should not have been assessed, because the Bridport school budget contained capital expenses that can legitimately be deducted from the community’s per-pupil spending. Once deducted, those expenses place Bridport’s budget in conformance with Act 68.
“It was collected by the state when it shouldn’t have been because of the (accounting) error,” ACSU interim Superintendent Gail Conley said.
Bridport has greatly improved its school building in recent years, including a voter-approved, $550,000 repair project in 2009.
“It was an oversight that no one had picked up on,” Bridport Selectman Leonard Barrett, also chairman of the UD-3 school board, said of the tax overpayment.
Fortunately, ACSU and Bridport officials recently discovered the error, which will require legislative action to correct. With that in mind, officials have asked Rep. Harvey Smith, R-New Haven, to file a bill requesting the $12,139 be credited on the next school levy.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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