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ANWSD communities see higher tax rates

VERGENNES — Residential school tax rates in Addison Northwest School District communities increased by between 9 and 29 cents, or roughly 5% and 16%, despite the March approval of a 2020-2021 district budget of $21,842,595 that reduced spending by about $300,000, or 1%, compared to the past school year. 
That spending plan avoided programming cuts and closed Addison Central School for use as an elementary school, instead repurposing it for alternative education. Addison’s elementary students will attend Vergennes Union Elementary School under the hybrid in-person/virtual learning plan now proposed in the district in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
According to pre-vote and pre-COVID estimates, officials believed the district-wide tax rate would rise by a little more than 5 cents if the budget was approved, but that was before the full impact of the pandemic was known on Vermont overall and school finances and on district and state-wide enrollment figures.
Instead, homestead school-tax rate increases range from about 9 cents per $100 in assessed property value in Addison to 29.35 cents in Waltham.
The Ferrisburgh homestead rate rose by 15.41 cents to $1.8532, and the Vergennes rate rose by 20.84 cents to $1.944.
Non-residential tax rates, covering commercial property, rental property, and seasonal and second homes, ranged from basically level in Addison to an increase of almost 19 cents in Waltham. 
Homeowners who pay based on their income do not pay the full amount of school taxes as would be calculated by applying tax rates to their assessed values. About two-thirds of Addison County and statewide homeowners receive Education Tax Credits.
According to 2019 state figures, those credits, or prebates, averaged $1,885 in Addison, $1,932 in Ferrisburgh, $1,432 in Vergennes, and $1,434 in Waltham. 
Panton has not yet set its tax rates, but will do so by the end of the month, according to town officials. 
ANWSD communities’ Common Levels of Appraisals, or CLAs, are so far mostly not having a major impact on school tax rates. CLAs measure how towns’ property tax valuations compare to fair market values based on an analysis of their recent sales. If a town’s assessed values are low, its CLA — expressed as a percentage — will increase its school tax rate; if a town’s assessed values are high, its CLA will lower its rate.
Vergennes’ CLA is the only one of the four that have sent out tax bill with a CLA below 100%, meaning its assessments are low, according to state calculations. The city’s CLA is 96.1%, and thus increased its school tax rate by roughly 4%. 
The municipal portions of the communities tax rates ranged from a 2-cent decrease in Waltham to an increase of almost a penny in Ferrisburgh. 
Municipal rates were basically level in Addison and Vergennes, with slight variances due to changes in tax-break rates offered to disabled veterans and, in the case of Vergennes, a nonprofit organization that owns property. Those tax breaks of less than a penny are included in the overall municipal rates here.
Community by community, the details in the rates are: 

ADDISON
Addison’s overall residential tax rate for the 2020-2021 fiscal year is $2.2471 per $100 of assessed value, an increase of 8.84 cents, or 4.1%.
It consists of 44.11 cents in local taxes, a decrease of 0.19 cent, and a school-tax rate of $1.8059, an increase of 9.02 cents, or 5.3%.
For a homeowner who does not receive an Education Tax Credit, the overall increase translates to an addition of about $88 of taxes per $100,000 of assessed value. 
The overall non-residential rate is $2.0163. As well as the local rate, it includes the state non-residential school tax rate of $1.5752, which is an increase of 0.12 cent. The new rate is 0.07 cent lower. 
Addison’s CLA is 103.35%. The town will send out its bills by the end of the month, with payment for the year due in full on Nov. 1.

FERRISBURGH
Ferrisburgh’s overall residential tax rate for the 2020-2021 fiscal year is $2.1760, an increase of 16.35 cents, or 8.62%.
It consists of 32.28 cents in local taxes, and increase of 0.94 cent, or about 3.2%, and a school-tax rate of $1.8532, an increase of 15.41 cents, or about 9.6%.
For a homeowner who does not receive an Education Tax Credit, the overall increase translates to an addition of about $154 of taxes per $100,000 of assessed value. 
The overall non-residential rate is $2.0163. As well as the local rate, it includes the non-residential school tax rate of $1.9393, which is an increase of about 6.7 cents, or about 3.7%. 
The increase translates to about $67 of additional taxes per $100,000 of assessed non-residential property.
Ferrisburgh’s CLA is 100.71%. The town sent out its bills at the end of last week, with the first of four payments due on Sept. 15.

VERGENNES
Vergennes’ overall residential tax rate for the 2020-2021 fiscal year is $2.8699, an increase of 21.06 cents, or about 8.4%.
It consists of 92.59 cents in local taxes, including an increase of .022 cent in the tax-break rate, and a school-tax rate of $1.944, an increase of  20.84 cents, or 12%.
For a homeowner who does not receive an Education Tax Credit, the overall increase translates to an addition of about $211 of taxes per $100,000 of assessed value. 
The overall non-residential rate is $2.6216. As well as the local rate, it includes the non-residential school tax rate of $1.6957, which is an increase of 10.57 cents, or about 4.2%. 
The increase translates to about $103 of additional taxes per $100,000 of assessed non-residential property.
Vergennes’ CLA is 96.1%. The town has been sending out its bills since mid-July as residents file their Homestead Exemptions, according to city officials., with the first of four payments due on Aug. 15.

WALTHAM
Waltham’s overall residential tax rate for the 2020-2021 fiscal year is $2.1147, an increase of 27.35 cents, or about 14.8%.
It consists of 30 cents in local taxes, a decrease of 2 cents, and a school-tax rate of $1.8147, an increase of 29.35 cents, or 19.3%.
For a homeowner who does not receive an Education Tax Credit, the overall increase translate to an addition of about $274 of taxes per $100,000 of assessed value. 
The overall non-residential rate is $1.8829. As well as the local rate, it includes the non-residential school tax rate of $1.5829, which is an increase of 16.73 cents, or 9.8%. 
The increase translates to about $167 of additional taxes per $100,000 of assessed non-residential property.
Waltham’s CLA is 102.5%. The town will send out its bills by the end of the month, with payment for the year due in full on Nov. 1.

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