KEITH WHITCOMB JR.
POWNAL -- The state portion of the tax rate will increase by about 6 cents on every $100 of a property’s assessed value, according to a letter sent to the Select Board last week by the state Department of Taxes.
The homestead education tax rate is $1.2228, an increase of $0.056 or, rounded up, 6 cents. The homestead rate applies to most residential homes. The nonresidential education tax rate applies to second homes and businesses, and it went up less than 1 cent, to $1.3630.
For the complete tax rate, the town must set its own, which it typically does not do until sometime in the fall. The education tax rate is set by the state and reflects a formula that accounts for cost per pupil in the local school system.
In other business, the board spoke to Bill Scully of Bennington, who along with Dennis Candelora of Pownal has expressed an interest in revitalizing the town-owned hydroelectric dam that once served the Pownal Tanning Co. and parts of North Pownal Village. The dam is on the Hoosic River and a number of companies have expressed interest in working with it in the past, but pollutants in the sediment behind it have been problematic.
Scully and Candelora have been working on drafting a lease option agreement with the town which would let them study the dam more.
The board had received a list of concerns from its attorney, Peter Holden, about the draft agreement. In the email, sent to the board, Holden said the agreement needs to be more specific about what is being proposed for the property and it should be more clear on what the town would get from revenues generated. He said liability for environmental testing should also be outlined, and the town should have some say in the project is sold to if it ever is sold.
The board agreed to allow Scully to speak to Holden directly on these and future questions to ease the process along. Scully has said he doesn’t expect feasibility work to be done for another three years.