State tax information shows rate changes in ANwSU region

ADDISON — While Addison and Vergennes town officials recently set local tax rates, state officials also released school tax information that made the rate picture clearer for residents of four of the five Addison Northwest Supervisory Union towns.
ANwSU rates are up somewhat after a year of little or no increases in 2012.
An unknown remains Ferrisburgh, where a town-wide reappraisal that officials said was largely triggered by inaccurate assessments of lakefront property is just now winding up.
Town Clerk Chet Hawkins said the reappraisal should be complete by mid-month, after which the town must allow residents time to grieve their new assessments to the board of listers, and then possibly appeal further to the Ferrisburgh board of civil authority.
Hawkins said the selectboard hopes to set the Ferrisburgh tax rate by late August, but it could be September before the dust settles and officials can determine the exact size of the town’s grand list, the final step before tax rates can be established.
“It depends on how many people grieve and appeal,” Hawkins said.
The statewide non-residential school tax rate was set at $1.44. Each town’s Common Level of Assessment (CLA), which measures how towns’ assessed property values stack up to fair market value, adjust that figure up or down to determine the towns’ final non-residential rates.
The towns’ residential school tax rates are determined by their per-pupil education costs. Those are in turn determined in part by spending at Vergennes Union High School and the towns’ elementary schools, and within ANwSU the town’s proportion of students at VUHS and, where applicable, Vergennes Union Elementary School.
In Addison, Town Clerk Marilla Webb said the selectboard met on June 24 to set the municipal portion of the 2013-2014 tax rate at 38.5 cents, up about 4.6 cents from the 2012-13 rate of 33.89 cents.
That increase in the levy needed to pay for town services translates to about $46 more in taxes per $100,000 of assessed value, or $92 on a $200,000 home.
Since then, Addison’s town office received from state officials its school tax rate information.
The town’s residential school tax rate will be $1.243, up by a little more than 4 cents from the 2012-2013 rate of $1.2023.
The school tax increase translates to roughly another $40 of taxes per $100,000 of assessed value, or $80 more in taxes for a $200,000 home for those who pay on the value of their property, and are not eligible for income sensitivity provisions of Vermont’s tax laws. In 2010, about 74 percent of Addison’s homeowners took advantage of those provisions, and most received property tax prebates.
Addison’s full residential tax rate, combining the municipal and school rates, will be 1.628, an increase of 8.67 cents.
The town’s new non-residential school tax rate is $1.2811, an increase of 2.69 cents.
Combined with the municipal rate, the total new Addison non-residential rate is 1.6661, an increase of 7.3 cents, or $73 per $100,000 of assessed value.
According to Webb, Addison property taxes are due in full on Nov. 1, while the town offers a 2 percent discount on any part of the municipal portion of the tax bill paid before Aug. 1.
The Panton selectboard will probably set the town’s portion of the tax rate in early August, once the town’s grand list size is pinned down later this month.
According to outgoing treasurer M’Lissa Dayton, school tax information also arrived at Panton’s town clerk’s office.
Residents and commercial property owners are looking at school tax increases.
According to the figures, Panton’s residential school tax rate will rise from 1.185 to 1.3638, or almost 18 cents.
About five cents of that increase is due to a drop in Panton’s CLA from about 104 percent to less than 97 percent of assessed value. If a CLA is lower than 100 percent it has the effect of driving a tax rate higher. Panton’s pre-CLA school tax rate was $1.3188.
The overall impact of the increase is almost $180 per $100,000 of assessed value for residents paying based on their homes’ full value.
But as is the case in Addison, many Panton homeowners will not pay the full list value of taxes on their homes. In 2010, for example, about 74 percent of Panton homeowners paid property taxes based on income sensitivity provisions in the state’s school financing law and received prebates.
Panton’s non-residential school rate climbed from $1.3242 to $1.4891, with the CLA again contributing almost 5 cents to a roughly 16.5-cent hike. Non-residential property owners will see about $165 in new taxes per $100,000 of assessed value.
Like Panton, the Waltham selectboard is expected to set its municipal rate early next month.
According to the new state data, the Waltham residential school tax rate will rise about nine cents, from $1.3033 this past year to $1.3967.
The increase will add about $90 per $100,000 of assessed value to a residential tax bill this year, assuming the property owner pays on its full value.
In 2010 about 68 percent of Waltham homeowners paid property taxes based on income sensitivity provisions in the state’s school financing law, most of whom received property tax prebates.
Although town officials last week quoted a lower figure for a non-residential rate, it appears the town’s commercial rate for 2013-2014 will be about $1.5187.
That figure is up about 6.4 cents from last year’s rate, meaning non-residential property owners are looking at a tax hike of about $64 per $100,000 of assessed value.
The Vergennes city council on June 27 adopted a 2013-2014 municipal tax rate of 63.5 cents, up by 1.43 cents from the 2012-2013 levy needed to pay for city services.
The increase of 1.43 cents will translate to $14.30 of additional taxes per $100,000 of assessed value, or $28.60 on a $200,000 home.
It was only the second increase in the municipal portion of the city tax rate since 2008. A year ago the council added two cents to the rate, the first change since 2008.
The city’s residential school tax rate will be $1.2622, with an adjustment downward of about 6 cents due to the city’s CLA of $104.58.
That increase is 4.3 cents more than the past year’s school tax rate of $1.2188.
That hike translates to $43 more in taxes per $100,000 of assessed value of city homes, assuming their owners are not eligible for income sensitivity payment provisions. In 2010, 75 percent of Vergennes homeowners paid property taxes based on those provisions in the state’s school financing law. Most of those homeowners received prebates.
Adding the municipal rate of 63.5 cents to that projected school tax rate leads to a total residential city tax rate of about 3.2 percent to $1.8972. City officials will add a small further amount to account for property tax breaks for disabled veterans and the Masons’ tax-exempt School Street building.
That new rate will end up as about a total 6-cent increase from the current rate of $1.8421, or about $60 per $100,000 of assessed value.
The city’s new non-residential school tax rate is $1.3769, up just slightly from this past year’s $1.3612.
The new non-residential rate will be $2.0119, plus the small amount to account for the disabled veterans and Masons’ tax breaks.
This past year it was $1.9845, and thus Vergennes commercial property owners will be looking at about a 3-cent property tax hike that will translate to $30 per $100,000 of assessed value.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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