Property taxes are expected to rise in five of the six towns in the Lamoille North Supervisory Union, based on school budgets facing voters on Town Meeting Day.
The Lamoille North Supervisory Union covers Belvidere, Eden, Hyde Park, Johnson and Waterville — Cambridge still runs its own elementary school, but joins with the other five in financing and sending students to Lamoille Union Middle and High schools
Johnson faces the largest increase at $146.10 per $100,000 in property value; Belvidere is at the other end of the spectrum, with an increase of $13.50 per $100,000 of value. Cambridge, Eden and Hyde Park fall in between.
Only Waterville property owners can expect school taxes to go down.
Here’s a rundown on estimated school tax rates in Lamoille North:
• Belvidere: $1.6483 per $100 of property value, up 1 cent, adding $13.50 to the tax bill of a $100,000 property.
• Cambridge: $1.57726 per $100 of value, up 6.6 cents, adding $66.99 to the bill for a $100,000 property.
• Eden: $1.6705 per $100 of value, up nearly 9 cents, adding $88.30 to the bill for a $100,000 property.
• Hyde Park: $1.6373 per $100 of value, up nearly 10 cents, adding $97.30 to the bill for a $100,000 property.
• Johnson: $1.7061 per $100 of value, up more than 14 cents, adding $146.10 to the bill for a $100,000 property.
• Waterville: $1.6534 per $100 of value, down 8 cents, trimming $81.29 off the tax bill for a $100,000 property.
Factors in the budget increases include negotiated pay and benefits for employees, a mandated increase for the Vermont State Teachers Retirement System, higher electricity costs, particularly in Hyde Park, higher property insurance rates, and the voter-approved project to renovate the gym and auditorium at Lamoille Union High School.
The Lamoille North budget proposal is nearly $25.6 million, about $1.25 million more than current spending. That $25.6 million is presented to voters as two separate budgets on Town Meeting Day; an elementary budget of just over $12 million and a middle and high school budget of roughly $13.6 million.
Cambridge contributes to the middle and high school budgets, but also has its own elementary school budget, proposed at $5.5 million.
“Some of the costs are not ones we can eliminate,” Cat Gallagher, school superintendent, told the News & Citizen last month. “We’re all here for the same reason, to provide for students the best we can while respecting our fiscal responsibilities.”
The $25.6 million Lamoille North budget would lead to a districtwide tax rate of $1.5952 per $100 of property value, up 7 cents, adding $71 to the tax bill of a $100,000 property.
However, each Lamoille North town has its own tax rate because of the common level of appraisal, a measurement of how closely town assessments are to market value, and adjusting the rate to make the tax bills fair.
Annual meeting held Feb. 17
Voters across Lamoille North will head to the polls March 3 to vote on their school budgets and elect school board members, but much of the rest of the school business is already done.
Lamoille North district held its annual meeting Feb. 17 at the Green Mountain Tech Center. Just 13 residents from the six towns attended, and all items on the agenda were improved.
The main money articles were two new reserve funds to cover unanticipated health care costs for faculty and staff, and placing a total of $151,414 in those two funds.