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The Valley Reporter
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Waitsfield, VT 05673
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Warren completes reappraisal, residents question town officials

 

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08/21/2008

By Lisa Loomis

The phones have been ringing off the hook at the listers' office in Warren since town residents received their 2008 tax appraisals in the mail last week.

The town-wide reappraisal was completed last month. Vermont law requires towns to keep their Common Level of Appraisal (CLA) at or above 80 percent of fair market value. The CLA is used by the State of Vermont to determine town-by-town state education tax rates.

Under the new appraisal, the appraised value of property in the town more than doubled, from $3,654,973,000 to $8,072,392,000. That means that many properties have likewise more than doubled in their appraisals. That does not mean that peoples' taxes will more than double, explained Town Lister Priscilla Robinson.

TAXES WILL NOT DOUBLE

"I have received numerous calls, emails and visits from taxpayers who are concerned with the impact the new valuation will have on the taxes. Valuations increased approximately 50 percent, but taxes will not double. In some cases the taxes will increase somewhat; in very few cases the tax may be down slightly depending on the ratio," Robinson explained.

She said that taxpayers can estimate their tax by dividing their new appraised value by 100 and then multiplying that by the tax rate. Warren has not yet set its tax rate and cannot do so until the grievance period for the new appraisal has passed.

"If there is not a great decrease in the total Grand List from the grievance process the residential rate we are predicting is in the $1.28 to $1.30 range. The non-homestead range would be $1.55 to $1.60, depending on the CLA factor which will be determined by the State of Vermont after all grievance adjustments are made to the Grand List," she said.

IN WRITING

"We expect tax bills to be sent to owners the first week in September.  The bills will be due in 30 days from the tax bill date but not overdue until November 10, 2008," Robinson said.

Taxpayers who feel their new appraisal is incorrect can bring a grievance to the town listers at grievance hearings held on August 21, 22 and 23 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the town offices. Grievances must be in writing and, if mailed, must be postmarked August 23 or hand delivered by August 23. Taxpayers are asked to bring as much documentation supporting their claim as possible.

"All grievances must be in writing. Include backup supporting your reason for the grievance, i.e., comparable property sales, contract for sale of property which has taken place and for which we would not have a property transfer, information such as a recent engineers report or contractor estimate. This will enable the Board of Listers to make an informed decision by providing data which the listers probably would not have had when setting the value on April 1, 2008. All written grievances will be considered but must be postmarked no later than August 23, 2008, in order to qualify for consideration," Robinson said.

HOMESTEAD DECLARATION

She also urged taxpayers who are residents to make sure they have properly filed their homestead declaration with the State of Vermont as homestead state education tax rates are lower than non-resident rates.

"If you own a homestead property you should check with the State of Vermont(you can check the website or call to be sure your homestead declaration has been received and accepted by the State of Vermont) as the deadline to file this year is September 1, 2008. You must be a Vermont resident and own and reside in your residence on April 1, 2008, and file an HS 122 with the State of Vermont to quality for the homestead," she added.

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