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Waltham tax hike largest in ANwSU

WALTHAM — The Waltham residential property tax rate for the current fiscal year rose by 28.74 cents, or about 16 percent, the largest increase among the five Addison Northwest Supervisory Union towns.
Waltham’s selectboard set its residential and non-residential tax rates last week. Like all Vermont property tax rates, an increase in the statewide school tax rate pushed the town’s rates higher.
Higher school spending at Vergennes Union Elementary School and a deficit at Vergennes Union High School contributed to an increase in Waltham’s school tax rates, as did declining enrollments that mean higher per-pupil spending. Higher per-pupil spending is a factor in pushing local school tax rates higher on a statewide basis.
Waltham’s new 2014-2015 residential rate is $2.0811, up from $1.7937.
The town’s new 2014-2015 non-residential rate, applying to commercial and rental property as well as second homes, is $2.12, up about 10.5 percent from $1.9187.
Both rates are 8 cents higher due to a hike in Waltham’s municipal rate from 40 to 48 cents. That portion of the overall tax rate pays for road and town office and administrative costs.
Waltham’s 28.74-cent increase on residential property means an increase of almost $290 per $100,000 of assessed value.
However, many Waltham homeowners pay property taxes based on the income sensitivity provisions of Vermont’s education finance laws and thus will eventually receive prebates and not feel the full brunt of the increase.
According to Vermont Department of Taxes data more than 60 percent of property taxpayers in most towns typically receive prebates.
Non-residential property taxpayers in Waltham will see an increase of about $200 per $100,000 of assessed value.
Residential property tax increases in other ANwSU range from about 9 cents to a little more than 24 cents:
•  Panton’s residential rate ended up at $1.9948, an increase of 9.12 cents from the 2013-2014 rate.
•  Addison’s residential rate rose by 22.8 cents to $1.856.
•  Ferrisburgh’s residential rate is $1.7893, up by about 24 cents.  
•  The Vergennes residential property tax rate stands at $2.1435, up 24.35 cents.
ANwSU non-residential rates rose less than residential rates:
•  Panton’s non-residential rate remained virtually unchanged: The town’s new rate is $2.0299, compared to $2.0289.
• Addison’s non-residential rate increased by 12.4 cents to $1.7901.
•  Ferrisburgh’s new non-residential rate rose by about 15 cents to $1.7187.
•  The Vergennes non-residential rate rose by almost 17 cents to $2.1835.
Although ANwSU rates rose this year, they are still far from the highest in Addison County: Middlebury’s residential rate increased by 8.4 cents to $2.7117 for the 2014-2015 fiscal year, for example.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at andyk@addisonindependent.com.

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