July 19, 2007
By CYRUS LEVESQUE
BRISTOL — For most Bristol property owners, tax bills that will be mailed next month will contain a pleasant surprise: tax rates will go down by more than 4 percent for homeowners, and up by less than 2 percent for non-residential properties.
An average homeowner who didn’t make any big changes to his or her property in the past year can expect to see a smaller tax bill, town clerk Theresa Kirby said.
The good news on tax rates was possible partly because Bristol’s grand list has increased, Kirby said. The municipal grand list has increased by 2.1 percent since last year, from $2,620,374 to $2,675,407, because of new construction or the change in use of properties. The police district grand list increased by 1.52 percent, from $1,075,362.
The biggest reason for the drop, though, was a drop in the state education tax rate for homesteads. The education tax rate for homesteads dropped by 7.19 percent and, for non-residential properties, increased by only 1.19 percent.
“The difference is that last year the state homestead tax rate was $1.30, and today it’s $1.20,” Kirby said. “That’s what helped it, because everything else had increased a little bit.”
For homeowners living outside the village police district, the Bristol property tax rate, which the selectboard set on Monday, is $1.7443 for every $100 of property, down 4.9 percent from the 2006-2007 rate of $1.8342. For homeowners in the police district, that rate is $1.9841 for every $100 of property, down 4.02 percent from the 2006-2007 rate of $2.0671.
The non-residential tax rate — which applies to businesses, and also to rental homes and any other property that isn’t the primary home of its owner — for properties outside the police district is $1.8696 for every $100 of property, up 1.05 percent from the previous year’s rate of $1.8502, and the non-residential rate inside the police district is $2.1094, up 1.26 percent from the current year’s rate of $2.0831.
Total amount to be raised by taxes for the 2007-08 fiscal year is budgeted to rise to $3,880,032 from $3,602,019.
Bristol taxes for the current year will be due in two installments, on Nov. 5 and April 5, 2008.
In other business at Monday’s meeting the Bristol selectboard:
• Voted to co-sponsor the upcoming Corn Festival so that it would be eligible for liability insurance. The Bristol Downtown Community Partnership, of which Selectwoman Carol Wells is a founding member, is planning and organizing the first annual Corn Festival. The Aug. 18 festival is intended to be a celebration of life in the Bristol community with a corn theme (See story, Page 2A).
The selectboard agreed to act as a co-sponsor for the event, which would make it eligible for the liability insurance through the Property and Casualty Intermunicipal Fund of the Vermont League of Cities and Towns.
• Received a report on plans for changes to the Bristol Recreation Field. Recreation Club member Joe Devall presented the board with ambitious plans to add a roof to the skating rink, rotate the horse riding ring to add an access road and tennis courts north of it, work out a deal with Mount Abraham Union High School to share parking lot space, and more.
Devall said that the idea began with the specific question of a new roof on the skating rink, but when the club sought input from area teens, suggestions and requests for a number of other changes to the grounds were made as well. The plans are still in very early stages. “This is a thousand-step process, and we’ve taken half a step,” he said. ?