Lower tax rates are made final in Ferrisburgh

FERRISBURGH — Ferrisburgh residents and non-residential property owners next week will receive 2017-2018 tax bills that include decreases — and in the case of homeowners those will mean a drop in their rates approaching 15 cents from the 2016-2017 levels. 
The decrease for owners of commercial property and second homes will near a penny.
Most of the drop for homeowners is due to the decrease in the homestead school tax rate after Addison Northwest School District unification, but at its Tuesday night meeting the Ferrisburgh selectboard also chose to apply $66,000 of an audited $216,000 carryover from the 2016-2017 fiscal year to reduce a municipal rate that otherwise might have increased slightly.
There was a minor change to the tax rate between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. 
Town Treasurer Deb Healey and Assistant Treasurer Pam Cousino will send out residential bills with an overall rate of $1.8226 and non-residential bills with a rate of $1.7305. 
But on Tuesday night the selectboard had adopted rates of $1.8221 and $1.7289, respectively.
Cousino acknowledged she and Healey changed the rates on Wednesday after discovering a minor miscalculation in financial information they had provided to the selectboard. 
Cousino said town office calculation of the rates was delayed when listers worked on updating their evaluation on the interiors of about 100 homes, thus slowing determination of the final grand list number, a key part of the rate calculation. 
In the resulting rush to meet the deadline to provide data to the selectboard on Tuesday and thus meet the Ferrisburgh’s mid-July tax-rate adoption target, Cousino said town office workers did not account for the additional $8,491 residents added to the selectboard budget at town meeting to support the Bixby Library.
“When I add that into the calculation the municipal rate goes up … (to) .2648 (from .2632),” she wrote in an email to the Independent.
Cousino and Healey discussed the situation briefly with town attorney James Carroll. Cousino said he described the rate change as a “minor technical issue” that could be handled as an adjustment to be made the selectboard’s next meeting, set for Aug. 1. 
Selectboard Chairwoman Loretta Lawrence and Vice Chairman Red Muir could not be immediately reached for comment before the Wednesday morning deadline for this edition of the Independent. 
As it stands, Ferrisburgh’s residential rate is going down by 14.75 cents. Of that, the school rate accounts for 13.92 cents and the municipal rate for 0.83 cents.
The decrease translates to $147.50 less in property taxes for each $100,000 of assessed value, or $368.75 less in taxes owed on a $250,000 home, assuming its ownership pays based on its assessment and not on its income.
For owners of second homes — including many lakefront property owners in Ferrisburgh — and commercial property, the overall decrease is 0.84 cents, including the municipal rate drop and another 0.01 cent in the non-residential school rate.
That modest drop translates to $8.40 less in taxes per $100,000 of assessed value. 
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