November 29 2016

Selectmen Set FY17 Tax Classification

By: Rich Hosford

The Burlington Board of Selectmen has set the FY17 tax rate

The board held its annual Tax Classification Hearing on Monday and set the residential and C.I.P. (commercial, industrial, personal property) tax rates for the following year.

Burlington has a split tax rate, meaning that residents pay one amount and commercial, industrial and personal property owners, effectively meaning businesses in town, pay another rate. The big decision for the board is how to split the tax burden between residents and businesses.

Members had a variety of options to choose from, presented by Town Appraiser James Doherty and Town Accountant Paul Sagarino.


The first major factor is setting the tax rates is to hit necessary tax levy to keep services, pay town employees and make payments on debt, among other expenses. This amount normally goes up each year. The FY16 was $99,399,287 and the FY17 levy was set at 102,863,548.


The tax levy was set about $8 million below the levy limit allowed under state law.


When deciding on how to set the split between the residential and commercial tax rates, the board weighed its desire to keep the residential rate low so as not to burden residents but also did not want to raise the commercial rate so much that it would slow economic growth. The board chose an option that will have the commercial sector pay 61.25 percent of the levy and the residential sector pay 38.75 percent of the levy.

So what does this mean for residents? It means that the average resident will see an increase in their property taxes of $87.64 in FY17, a 1.78 percent raise over FY16. Residents will pay $11.06 for every $1,000 of assessed value of their property.

Doherty said this relatively low increase is thanks, in part, to a better than expected amount of local receipts. Things like building permits, licenses, excise tax, meals tax and the hotel tax brought in more money than previously thought.


He also said they were able to shift a bit more of the burden onto the commercial side without raising the rate so much Burlington became uncompetitive with surrounding communities.


“We treat the commercial people very well but when there is an opportunity to help the residents we try to do that,” Doherty said.



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