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The Valley Reporter
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Moretown sets tax rate

08/28/2008

 By Kara Herlihy

The Moretown Select Board held a special meeting Monday, August 25, to set the town tax rate. For residents, the tax rate was set at $1.8129, and $1.8877 for non-residents. The town tax rate was set at .2654, in total, a 10 percent increase from the previous year.

At their last meeting, members of the Select Board pointed to the lack of clarity surrounding the town's fund balances, which they said was the result of both an estimated grand list, and fund balances that were determined before the audit was completed in full.

TWELVE CENTS

Select board members determined that the tax rate for 2007 was set 12 cents lower than it should have been, according to estimations.

Select board member John Hoogenboom commented that "last year, we took the MLI tipping fees from January through July, plus an additional $80,000 in carry over from 2006."

Prior to the audit being completed, Sullivan and Powers suggested that calculations be based upon a calendar year so the town could count the additional $150,000 expected to come in between August and December.

Hoogenboom continued, "What happened was, in one year we did use more than 12 months; that, coupled with taxpayers voting to put $250,000 into the capital reserve fund. Now, going back on the calendar year, we've made it straight."

Select board member Stephanie Venema assured that this year's increase was not the result of the town overspending, it was because the numbers they had were not correct in previous years.

Members of the select board further discussed changing to a calendar year and holding a public meeting to garner opinion on how the Moretown Landfill monies should be spent in the future.

LAST TWO YEARS

The board also discussed the $250,000 designated for the capital reserve fund, and the possibility of using some of that money to lessen the tax burden on Moretown residents.

In 2007, the town tax rate was .2198. For residents, the rate was $1.6490, and for non-residents, 1.6586. The school rate was set at $1.4292. The town estimates that taxes were underpaid for at least the last two years.

"In reality, had we used a calendar year last year, we would have been looking at a considerably lower tax rate. The auditor had some updated information, we got back onto calendar year for the landfill fees, which is good, had we used the second half of 2007," Hoogenboom added.

The town currently has $885,656 in the budget, with $10,000 designated for special articles. The town estimates an additional $150,000 in MLI tipping fees from August through December of 2008.

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