NORTH BENNINGTON — The Village Trustees on Tuesday looked at a draft of what the village tax rate could look like this fall.
"I don't know what the grand list is," said Treasurer Mary Rogers to the board, "but assuming it is in the vicinity of last year, this would represent an 8 cent increase on the municipal tax rate." This would put the tax rate at 68.44 cents per $100 of appraised property value, a 13 percent increase over last year.
"However," said Rogers, "the education tax rate is down almost 5 cents for residents. Non-residents are also down, but not nearly as much. Altogether, an average resident is going to look at a tax increase of about 3 cents on their rate, or about 1.5 percent." She estimated that, based on North Bennington's average property value, that would equal about $50."
A 3 cent rate increase would equal $50 if a residence was valued at about $165,000. For further clarification, on a $150,000 home, the increase would be $45, and for a $200,000 home, the increase would be about $60.
Trustee Bill Scully pointed out that between last year and the year before, the municipal budget decreased 8 percent. "The point I want to make is that we're only looking at 5 percent higher than two years ago," he said, "Budgets go up and down, and we're a little village, so when there's a big repair it costs a lot of money and there's an increase. This is 5 percent over two years."
"Again, looking at the average property owner and average home values," said Rogers, "compared to two years ago, this (increase) is $10."
Board Chairman Matthew Patterson pointed out that these numbers are still preliminary, as both the education rate and the grand list value continue to be "moving targets." The rate is expected to be finalized at the board's September meeting.
In related news, Rogers said that overall municipal expenses were higher than expected for Fiscal Year 2016, which ended on June 30, but that corresponding grant funds should offset that and ensure that net spending matches what was budgeted.
At the start of the meeting, Patterson offered condolences to the family of George Elwell, who recently passed away. "Our deepest condolences to the Elwell family for their loss this week, George's passing away. The Elwell family, as everyone knows, is a very important family in this community, and we all share a deep sadness." He said the purple bunting displayed on the train station is in Elwell's honor. Elwell's family wrote in his obituary that there would be no calling hours or services, and encouraged any who wanted to make donations in his name to consider giving to Fund for North Bennington, the Cardiac Rehabilitation Department of Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, or the Appalachian Mountain Club of Boston.
The North Bennington Village Trustees meet the first Tuesday after the first Wednesday of every month at the train station on Depot Street. Full recordings of the meetings are available on Catamount Access Television, and on the station's YouTube page.
Derek Carson can be reached for comment at 802-447-7567, ext. 122.