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In Middlebury, town rate rises by a half-cent

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury selectboard on Tuesday unanimously OK’d a new municipal property tax rate of 98.2 cents per $100 in property value, reflecting a bump of approximately a half a penny compared to this year’s rate of 97.8 cents.
Middlebury’s overall tax rate — municipal rate plus education rate — is expected to come into focus by the end of this week, when state officials are scheduled to release education property tax rates for all Vermont communities. Education expenses make up the majority of the overall property tax rate, which for the current year is $2.786 in Middlebury.
The new municipal rate, which takes effect July 1, corresponds to the town budget and other special money items that Middlebury voters approved at their annual town meeting in March. On March 6, voters OK’d a general fund operating budget of $10,321,456 for fiscal year 2018, with $7,106,034 of that sum to be raised by taxes.
Additionally, voters authorized several special articles that:
•  Increased selectboard stipends by a combined total of $7,400.
•  Re-established a local police K-9 program, for $30,610.
•  Granted appropriations of $2,500 and $1,200, respectively, to Addison County Restorative Justice Services and the Addison County River Watch Collaborative.
Several years ago, the town raised the local veterans’ property tax exemption from $10,000 to $40,000 of assessed value. That means Middlebury taxpayers are responsible for the education property taxes on that increased exemption level.
Middlebury’s grand list also influences the municipal tax rate. The grand list is the total value of taxable property, divided by 100. The tax rate is set by dividing the dollar amounts to be raised by the grand list value, noted Middlebury Town Manager Kathleen Ramsay. So Middlebury’s fiscal year 2018 grand list, as determined by the town listers, is $7,441,418.
It should be noted the selectboard has yet to set the Downtown Improvement District tax rate, through which property owners in the core village area pay an additional penny on the tax rate to fund improvements to public property downtown. The Downtown Improvement District Commission is still in the process of gathering enough signatures to a petition re-authorization of the special assessment district.
Reporter John Flowers is at johnf@addisonindependent

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