News

ANWSD towns releasing new homestead tax rates

VERGENNES — When in mid-August Addison Northwest School District Director of Operations and Finance Elizabeth Jennings discovered a state error in establishing the district’s homestead tax rate, the residential tax rates already calculated by ANWSD communities proved to be nine or 10 cents too high.
After Jennings’s forensic accounting, corrected homestead tax information from the Vermont Department of Taxes arrived at ANWSD towns on Monday.
After that, Ferrisburgh, Addison, Panton and Waltham began re-working tax bills this week and have either begun sending out bills or will do so soon (Vergennes had already sent bills, but will correct them).
ANWSD non-residential tax rates were not affected by the rates’ recalculation. Ferrisburgh Town Clerk Pam Cousino explained that calculations for non-residential rates do not make use of per-pupil spending, unlike those for residential rates. She and Jennings said the error made by the tax department affected ANWSD’s per-pupil spending number, and in turn ANWSD’s homestead tax rate.
The district’s 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 17 cents in Waltham.
When news of the incorrect accounting broke, Vergennes had already sent out first-quarter homestead bills with the higher rates. City officials plan to send out adjusted bills in the future to account for the lower levies.
Most ANWSD homestead rates still increased, and by more than the roughly 5-cent estimate ANWSD initially released this past spring.
That 5-cent estimate did not take into account communities’ Common Levels of Appraisals, or CLAs. 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.
Addison’s, Ferrisburgh’s and Waltham’s CLAs are at or above 100%, but Vergennes and Panton have CLAs below 100% that are pushing school tax rates higher.
Overall, residential school tax rates in ANWSD communities ranged from level in Addison to an increase of more than 20 cents in Waltham. Officials were at a loss to explain why Waltham’s increase almost doubled that of any other ANWSD community.
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.
Municipal non-school 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 rates, less than a penny, are included in the overall municipal rates here.
In March, ANWSD voters backed a 2020-2021 school district budget of $21,842,595 that reduced spending by about $300,000, or 1%, over the past school year.
Community by community, the details in the rates are:

ADDISON
Addison’s overall residential tax rate for the 2020-2021 fiscal year is $2.1559 per $100 of assessed property value, a decrease of 0.28 cent.
It consists of 44.11 cents in local taxes, a decrease of 0.19 cent, and a school-tax rate of $1.7148, a decrease of 0.09 cent.
Homeowners who do not receive an prebate will save $2.80 per $100,000 of assessed value, or enough less on tax bills from most homes in town to buy a gallon of milk and a candy bar at W.A.G.S.
Before the error was uncovered, Addison had been looking at a homestead tax increase to $1.8059, or about 9 cents.
Addison’s 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 cents. The new rate is .07 cent lower.
Addison’s CLA is 103.35%.

FERRISBURGH
Ferrisburgh’s overall residential tax rate for the 2020-2021 fiscal year is $2.0825, an increase of 7 cents, or about 3.5%.
It consists of 32.28 cents in local taxes, an increase of 0.94 cent, or about 3.2 percent, and a school-tax rate of $1.7597, an increase of 6.06 cents, or about 3.6%.
For a homeowner who does not get a prebate, the overall increase translates to an addition of about $70 of taxes per $100,000 of assessed value.
Before the error was uncovered, Ferrisburgh had been looking at a homestead tax increase to $1.8532, or more than 15 cents.
Ferrisburgh’s 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%.

PANTON
Panton’s overall residential tax rate for the 2020-2021 fiscal year is $2.5093, an increase of 13.58 cents, or about 5.7%.
It consists of 60.88 cents in local taxes, an increase of 3.02 cents, and a school-tax rate of $1.9005, an increase of 10.56 cents, or 5.9%.
For a homeowner who does not receive a prebate, the overall increase translate to an addition of about $106 of taxes per $100,000 of assessed value.
Before the error was uncovered, Panton had been looking at a homestead tax increase to 2.0015, or more than 20 cents.
Panton’s overall non-residential rate is $2.3546. As well as the local rate, it includes the non-residential school tax rate of $1.7458, which is an increase of 9.91 cents, or about 6%.
The increase translates to about $ of additional taxes per $100,000 of assessed non-residential property.
Panton’s CLA is 93.25%.

VERGENNES
Vergennes’ overall residential tax rate for the 2020-2021 fiscal year is $2.7717, an increase of 21.06 cents, or about 4.2%.
It consists of 92.59 cents in local taxes and a school-tax rate of $1.8458, an increase of 11.02 cents, or 6.3%.
For a homeowner who does not receive an Education Tax Credit, the overall increase translates to an addition of about $110 of taxes per $100,000 of assessed value.
Before the error was uncovered, Vergennes had been looking at a homestead tax increase to $1.944, or almost 21 cents.
Vergennes’ 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%.

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 $1.7231, an increase of 20.19 cents, or 13.3%.
For a homeowner who does not receive an Education Tax Credit, the overall increase translate to an addition of about $202 of taxes per $100,000 of assessed value.
Before the error was uncovered, Waltham had been looking at a homestead tax increase to $1.8147, or more than 29 cents.
Waltham’s 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%.

Share this story:

More News
News

Fish & Wildlife bill gets mixed reviews

At Monday’s Legislative Breakfast, local hunting and trapping enthusiasts grilled Sen. Chr … (read more)

Homepage Featured News

Middlebury struggles with aging water pipes

Middlebury officials are working on a 10-year plan for upgrading the community’s 54-mile m … (read more)

News

Major Starksboro sugarworks changes hands

Sugarmaker Dave Folino has spent over four decades tapping trees in the woods of Starksbor … (read more)

Share this story: