In Colchester usually the second time's a charm.
“Passing a budget on its first attempt in Colchester has always been a challenge,” said Larry Waters, Colchester Superintendent.
Waters says over the last decade more than half of the proposed school budgets were defeated the first time around. Next year's proposed budget sits at roughly 36 million dollars; up about $1.5 million from last years. It would increase taxes by almost nine percent.
“Of which about 4% of that is coming from the state due to the increase in the homestead tax rate,” said Waters.
The Homestead Tax Rate will affect every Vermonter. Mary Peterson with the State Department of Taxes says the base rate will go up an estimated two to seven cents depending on the school budgets passed throughout the state. In addition tax payers could see another increase with what’s called a local adjustment. Peterson says that's based on how much each district spends per student and whether that dollar amount changes.
“In the state of Vermont, with no doubt at all, education is expensive,” said Waters.
Waters says Colchester spends approximately 13 thousand dollars per student. That's slightly less than state average and a lot less than Craftsbury the district that spends the most in the state per pupil. Bottom line-the impact on you will depend on the final school budgets.
“We'll have to wait and see what happens on March 4th,” said Waters.
The final Homestead Tax Rate increase will be decided by the Legislature. In the past that change is finalized after the districts pass their budgets. So most likely the rate increase will be finalized after Town Meeting Day.