Middlebury property tax rate rises 4 percent

MIDDLEBURY — Most Middlebury homeowners are seeing their property tax rates rise almost 4 percent this year.
Taxpayers in the shire town this past Friday owed their first installment of their fiscal year 2016 property taxes, which were based on a new residential rate of $2.8251 per $100 in property value.
The new residential property tax rate is 10.8 cents more than the previous rate of $2.7175, an increase of 3.96 percent.
This overall property tax rate reflects a municipal rate of roughly 98 cents (up from 94 cents); a homestead education property tax rate of $1.8431 (up 6.6 cents from the current $1.7772).
Meanwhile,  the non-residential rate for fiscal year 2016 has been set at $2.66 per $100, which represents a bump of around 7 cents (or 2.75 percent) compared to the previous fiscal year’s rate of $2.589.
As previously reported in the Addison Independent, the 4-cent boost in the municipal tax rate is being driven by a 2015-2016 town spending plan of $9,949,155, which was up 6.7 percent. Around 50 percent of that increase was related to debt service on the soon-to-be built new town offices and recreation center, Ilsley Library repairs, and the recent makeover of the Middlebury and East Middlebury fire stations. Contracted salary increases and benefits were the other major drivers for the town spending plan.
Middlebury’s education property tax rate increase of 6.6 cents is primarily associated with increases in the 2015-2016 spending plans for the Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center and UD-3 school district, which covers expenses related to Middlebury Union middle and high schools. Peter Burrows, superintendent of the Addison Central Supervisory Union, cited five specific drivers for the tax boost, including:
• Negotiated salary increases.
• A career center tuition assessment that increased by 15.3 percent, from $680,835 to $784,798.
• A decrease in equalized pupils from 992.35 to 967.71 (fewer students means less state funding).
• A one-cent rise in the state’s base education tax rate, from 98 to 99 cents.
• A voter-approved request of $400,000 for capital improvements to MUHS and MUMS.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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