Tax Payers in Grand Isle and Isle La Motte Face Significant Property Tax Increases

By Kristen Tripodi

Published 03/04 2014 10:38PM

Updated 03/05 2014 07:41AM

GRAND ISLE, Vt.- If passed, many school budgets would mean a dramatic increase in property taxes in many towns. People living in Grand Isle and Isle La Motte will have to pay more than 20% more in taxes this upcoming school year.

Alburgh and Grand Isle budgets were defeated. While voters said yes to school budgets in North Hero, South Hero, and Isle La Motte.

Now that most school budgets have been decided the legislature will determine what the homestead tax rate will be. And that will ultimately decide just how much your property taxes will go up.

No matter which way you look at it education is expensive. And this year every Vermonter will have to dig deeper into their pockets to pay for it.

“I think the five million dollars they are allocating for the budget is way over the top,” said Robert Harriman, a voter in Grand Isle.

That estimated five million dollars is the school budget that Grand Isle voters turned down. That's only a four percent increase over last year but Grand Isle has one of the largest tax increases in the state- nearly 25 percent.

“I think the challenge that we are seeing across the state is that taxes are out of control. Property taxes are out of control,” said Samira Davis, a voter in Grand Isle.

But in Isle La Motte tax payers face an even larger increase.

“Isle La Motte is seeing a significant jump in taxes, their budget has actually decreased by 1%, but they are looking at a 48 cents tax increase,” said Bob Phillips, Superintendent of the Grand Isle Supervisory Union.

That's an increase of more than 28 percent in property taxes. There are many reasons tax payers will have to shell out more money this year.
A onetime surplus last yea- and less money from the lottery and sales tax means less money in the education fund this year. To make that up lawmakers plan to raise the Homestead Tax Rate by up to 7 cents.

“The challenge is really beyond the control of the local school boards. They’ve really worked conscientiously to be very conservative spending. But some of these variables are really beyond their control,” said Phillips.

Just because a school budget doesn't rise significantly taxes will still go up and that can hit smaller schools especially hard.

 “Fewer numbers of students and minor changes can have a significant impact,” said Phillips.

An impact that will be felt statewide.

Law makers plan to determine what the Homestead Tax Rate will be after they return from break. That will ultimately dictate just how much your property taxes will increase. But even if law makers decide to lower the rate by one penny your property taxes won't change significantly from what was passed.

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