Middlebury property tax rate increases by 2 cents

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury selectboard on July 11 approved an overall, fiscal year 2018 residential property tax rate of $2.806 per $100 in property value. That represents a roughly 2-cent increase compared to last year’s rate of $2.786.
Town officials last month approved a new municipal property tax rate of 98.2 cents, up approximately four-tenths of a penny. Now that state officials have provided towns with their respective education property tax rates, communities are able to compute their overall property tax rates for the fiscal year that began on July 1 and will end on June 30, 2018.
The new Middlebury rate of $2.806 includes a residential education property tax rate of $1.8237, up roughly 1.6 cents from last year.
Middlebury will assess a non-residential property tax rate of $2.741 per $1,000 in property value in fiscal year 2018. That’s a 9.6-cent hike compared to last year’s rate. Town Manager Kathleen Ramsay said the increase is largely due to Common Level of Appraisal (CLA) factors associated with the new, non-resident education property tax rate of $1.7587 for fiscal year 2018. That new rate represents a 9.2-cent increase.
The CLA is an indicator of the level at which properties in a town are appraised in relation to the actual fair market value. The CLA is used to equalize education taxes statewide with the goal of having properties of equal value pay equal amounts of school taxes. Each year the Property Valuation & Review Division of the Vermont Department of Taxes determines each town’s CLA by performing a statistical study of property sales. The study seeks to determine how close the appraised values found in the grand list are to the actual fair market value. If the study finds that properties, on average, sell for less than the appraised amounts, the CLA will be greater than 100 percent. If properties in a town sell for more than the appraised values, the CLA will be less than 100 percent.
Middlebury officials have been generally pleased about recent trends in the local tax rate.
“It’s been great to have a fairly consistent property tax rate for the past three years,” Ramsay said.
Selectman Victor Nuovo credited town staff for crafting budgets that have helped contain tax rate increases, but he remains concerned about people being able to afford to live in Middlebury. Addison County’s shire town continued to have one of the highest property tax rates in the state.
“I always start with the view that we shouldn’t raise taxes unless we really have to,” said Nuovo, who’d like to see Middlebury increase its grand list as part of a strategy to make the town more prosperous and affordable.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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