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Vermont school tax rates being set on Aug. 1

MONTPELIER — The Vermont Legislature could set state school tax rates on Aug. 1, according to a June 2 memo sent to municipal officials around the state by Vermont League of Cities and Towns Director Jill Remick.
In an emailed memo that went out to members of the Vermont Municipal Government Discussion Network, Remick said VLCT is “following the Legislature closely,” but that the Aug. 1 date is not set in stone.
Remick did advise towns to consider their tax billing schedules given the latest information VLCT has gleaned, however. 
“We anticipate tax rates to be published by Aug. 1 (subject to change). Towns that typically print bills in early or mid-July should consider adjusting your time frame considering this anticipated delay in tax rate setting,” Remick wrote.
She added that municipalities would still be on the hook for payments due to local school districts in September even if they delayed their billing and collection schedules.
“Towns will still be expected to make their September education payment, and legislation expected to pass will allow towns to borrow in order to make that payment, with the state paying the interest,” Remick wrote.
Locally, for example, Ferrisburgh Town Clerk Pam Cousino on June 3 wrote to that town’s selectboard and suggested a schedule change after reading the memo and, along with other local officials, attending a VLCT meeting earlier in the week.
“Our best bet would be to get the tax bills out by Aug. 14 (at the latest) and have the September due date be Sept. 15 instead of Sept. 1,” Cousino wrote. “This shouldn’t affect us much and we could still get the money to the (Addison Northwest School District) on time without borrowing. This would also allow you to set the tax rate at the Aug. 4 meeting.”
Towns have been concerned about their cash flows, with municipal officials locally and statewide wondering if some owners of homes and commercial properties might have difficulty making tax payments. 
Payments did come in well for the second quarter, however, according to local officials, who regardless remain concerned about the next few months.
And Remick concluded her email with a reminder those next few months could also still bring surprises from Montpelier.
“We suggest staying tuned to updates from us, the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, and your legislators to see when there are more definitive answers,” she said.

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