Ferrisburgh budget could raise taxes 2 cents

FERRISBURGH — The Ferrisburgh selectboard adopted a town meeting warning on Tuesday that includes spending measures that if approved by residents in March could add almost 2 cents to the municipal portion of the Ferrisburgh tax rate, which this year stands at 29.52 cents per $100 of assessed value.
The board’s decisions include:
•  A proposed town spending plant of roughly $2.065 million, one that crests $2 million for the first time.
•  A separate article that seeks $70,000 for a new heavy-duty pickup truck, to be paid off at about $14,000 a year over five years.
•  Approval of inclusion for voter approval of $32,195 of donations to Addison County nonprofits.
A 2-cent increase translates to $20 for every $100,000 of assessed value.
If residents on Town Meeting Day back all those proposals Ferrisburgh municipal spending would increase from $1,999,611 to $2.111 million. 
That additional $111,400 of spending, if all is approved, would translate to about a 5.57 percent increase.
Town officials estimate a penny on the Ferrisburgh tax rate raises about $53,000, meaning about 2.1 cents would be needed to cover the full amount.
However, Assistant Clerk/Treasurer Pam Cousino said officials expect growth in the town’s grand list of taxable property to offset some of the increase and bring down the rate hike to less than 2 cents.
Ferrisburgh selectboard Chairman Rick Ebel said there was little disagreement on the board during budget discussions.
“I am confident that the selectboard did its due diligence in building a responsible budget,” Ebel said.
Major drivers in the higher budget are the costs for emergency services and town road maintenance.
The requests for fire and emergency services rose by about $30,000 to $225,419.
Those increases break down to $16,700 for the Ferrisburgh Volunteer Fire Department; $9,200 for the Vergennes Fire Department, the first responder for some of the southern part of the town and all of West Ferrisburgh; and $4,200 for the Vergennes Area Rescue Squad. VARS is raising costs throughout its service area, and the two fire departments have purchased new equipment.
The proposed highway department budget is up by about $70,000 to $978,985.
The major increases within that budget are in the line items for paving ($25,000), wages (roughly $18,000) and diesel fuel ($10,000).
Other rising costs are for heat for the larger town garage ($3,500), sand and salt ($6,000) and equipment maintenance ($5,000).

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