Bridport in line for school tax refund

<p> BRIDPORT &mdash; The Addison Central Supervisory Union is asking the state to credit the town of Bridport for $12,139 in excess education property taxes the community paid this academic year.</p><p> At issue is an accounting error &mdash; made either at the ACSU or Vermont Department of Education level &mdash; through which the Bridport school&rsquo;s recent capital expenses were factored into the community&rsquo;s per-pupil spending level. The inclusion of those capital expenses caused Bridport&rsquo;s per-pupil spending to run afoul of Act 68 &mdash; the state&rsquo;s education finance law &mdash; to the point where the town was assessed a financial penalty.</p><p> But that penalty should not have been assessed, because the Bridport school budget contained capital expenses that can legitimately be deducted from the community&rsquo;s per-pupil spending. Once deducted, those expenses place Bridport&rsquo;s budget in conformance with Act 68.</p><p> &ldquo;It was collected by the state when it shouldn&rsquo;t have been because of the (accounting) error,&rdquo; ACSU interim Superintendent Gail Conley said.</p><p> Bridport has greatly improved its school building in recent years, including a voter-approved, $550,000 repair project in 2009.</p><p> &ldquo;It was an oversight that no one had picked up on,&rdquo; Bridport Selectman Leonard Barrett, also chairman of the UD-3 school board, said of the tax overpayment.</p><p> Fortunately, ACSU and Bridport officials recently discovered the error, which will require legislative action to correct. With that in mind, officials have asked Rep. Harvey Smith, R-New Haven, to file a bill requesting the $12,139 be credited on the next school levy.</p><p> <em>Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].</em></p>

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Addison County Independent

58 Maple Street
Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
Fax: 802.388.3100