This article by Derek Carson originally appeared Dec. 28 in the Bennington Banner.
ARLINGTON — Like many towns across the state, Arlington’s school board has worked to limit any increases in spending, but is still facing the prospect of a sizeable property tax hike.
Superintendent William Bazyk approached the board last week with what he described as good news and bad news. The good news, he said, was that they had managed to limit the budget increase to 1.5 percent. The bad news is that the town’s homestead education tax rate is still expected to increase considerably, by 9.8 cents per $100 in appraised value.
“The board did very well with this budget,” said Bazyk, “coming in under 2.5 percent [as Gov. Phil Scott requested of districts during the budgeting process], holding staffing levels, and on top of that providing good services for our children.”
The reason that the tax rate is increasing much more than the budget is the property tax yield adjustment, a figure set by the legislature that forms the baseline for determining tax rates. The rate is projected to be lowered from last year, and the lower the rate, the higher taxes will be, regardless of spending in any individual district. The Scott administration warned earlier this month that an increase was coming, and that it could average as high as 9.4 cents.
“If the state had not come out with that increase, we would have only had a nominal increase in town, almost a flat rate from last year,” Bazyk said.
For a homestead valued at $200,000, a 10-cent rate increase would equate to about an additional $200 compared to this year.
Read full article at the Bennington Banner.
(Fair use with written permission from the New England Newspapers Inc.)