November 16 2015

Selectmen Set FY16 Tax Rates

By: Rich Hosford

The Burlington Board of Selectmen has set the FY16 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, Town Treasurer Brian Curtin 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. In FY15 the tax levy was $95,618,30. The levy the board set this week for FY16 is $99,399,287. 


Curtin said one piece of good news is in FY16 the tax levy was set at $6.2 million below the levy limit, keeping the increase to 3.95 percent. That was a goal the board had set out last year, Sagarino explained. 


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. Under the option the board chose the businesses in town will pay 60.8 percent of the tax levy and residents will pay 39.2 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 $78.14 in FY16, an increase of 1.61 percent. Residents will pay $11.46 for every $1,000 of assessed value of their property. 


Town Administrator John Petrin said this increase is lower than the last few years. He said three years ago the residential rate rose 2.49 percent, two years ago it rose 2.45 percent and last year it rose 3.02 percent. 

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