The state revealed education property tax rates for 259 municipalities across Vermont earlier this month but left nine communities off the list. What do they have in common? Property reappraisals. Among the lucky nine is South Burlington, although officials maintain that the end is nigh.
Reappraised values, released last month, jumped an average 27 percent among residential properties.
Now that hearings to dispute new values have concluded — in mid-June for residential and last week for commercial — Tyler Technologies, the company performing the city’s mass appraisal, has until this Friday to mail results to appellants. Once all changes to the grand list are set, the city will notify the state, activating the process to fix the local education property tax rate.
Residential and commercial appellants should expect to receive their grievance verdict by July 16, now that all hearings have finished. Martha Lyons, South Burlington director of tax collection and assessment, said this is mostly in line with her timeline for ratifying the tax rate and mailing out tax bills. She hopes to mail tax bills by the end of the month, allowing her time to finalize changes to the grand list, send the information to the state to set the education tax rate, and finalize the municipal tax rate.
If that timeline holds, first payments would be due by Aug. 30 after which penalty interest would accrue. The state should finalize the city’s education tax rate by July 23.
Since South Burlington voters already approved the city budget and tax rate last year, it remains revenue neutral, meaning the city tax rate will decrease as values on the grand list increase. However, that does not apply to education property taxes.
The complicated education tax formula, which often makes Vermont residents and lawmakers alike scratch their heads, in part uses a municipality’s grand list to calculate how much funding should be allotted across the state. This means that as South Burlington’s property values increase, the education property tax rate is likely to rise with it.
Should property-owners finish the grievance process and still wish to contest their result, the last outlet they have is to appeal to the board of civil authority.
Less than 10 percent of South Burlington property owners filed a grievance in June disputing new residential values, which fluctuated widely across the city and between neighborhoods. On the commercial side, Tyler Technologies expected about 25 percent of property owners to appeal.
The eight other Vermont municipalities also under reappraisals include Arlington, Barre Town, Burlington, Coventry, Dummerston, Ludlow, Mendon and Waterford.