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Middlebury’s tax rate goes down

MIDDLEBURY — Receiving a property tax bill is never fun. But Middlebury residents who opened their fiscal year 2017 property tax bills last week found reason to smile a little bit, upon learning they will be paying a little less than they did last year.
Thanks to some slightly larger-than-expected growth in the town’s grand list and some tight school budgets, residential property taxpayers will be assessed at a rate of $2.786 per $100 in property value, representing a 3.9-cent decrease from last year’s rate of $2.8251.
That $2.786 reflects a residential education property tax rate of $1.808, which is down 3.5 cents compared to last year’s rate of $1.8431. The $2.786 also includes a municipal property tax rate of 97.8 cents, a slight decrease from last year’s municipal rate of 98.2 cents.
Fiscal year 2017 encompasses the period from July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2017.
Meanwhile, Middlebury’s non-residential property tax rate for fiscal year 2017 has been set at $2.645 per $100 in property value, which is down 1.5 cents compared to last year’s rate of $2.66. That $2.645 includes the municipal rate of 97.8 cents and a non-residential education property tax rate of $1.667. The new non-residential education property tax rate is 1.1 cents less than last year’s rate of $1.678.
Middlebury Town Manager Kathleen Ramsay pointed to some additional encouraging news on the financial front. She indicated the town’s fiscal year 2016 budget — as of May 31 — was on track to conclude with a surplus of around $200,000, due largely to a mild winter and existing staff vacancies that will carry into fiscal year 2017.
Ramsay was pleased with the tax rate news.
“It’s nice when the actual tax rate is lower than our estimate,” she said on Monday. “And it was nice that there was greater growth in the grand list.”
Middlebury residents need to pay the first installment of their property tax bills by Aug. 15. And here’s a key reminder: Per the public vote at town meeting this past March, postmarks are no longer accepted as proof of timely payment of taxes. In order to avoid a penalty, tax payments must be received in the town treasurer’s office before the close of business on the due date, Ramsay noted.
And effective with the first tax installment due Aug. 15, interest will be added immediately to payments that are delinquent.
The town has also adopted a graduated penalty on delinquent taxes. No longer will an 8-percent penalty be assessed on taxes not paid by the due date for the third installment. Instead, a 1-percent penalty will be assessed for the first 10 days of delinquency, with an additional 7-percent penalty on payments that are more than 10 days late.
Taxpayers with questions should contact town Treasurer Jackie Sullivan at 458-8003, or at jsullivan@townofmiddlebury.org.
Reporter John Flowers is at johnf@addisonindepoendent.com.

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