On July 5, 2023

Total tax rate increases 18% in Killington 

 

By Polly Mikula

Just days after the Killington Select Board approved a virtually flat municipal tax rate ($0.5444) at their June 26 meeting, the town received the state’s calculations for the education portion of the bill, which makes up about 80% of the total tax bill.

The Vermont Dept. of Taxes has calculated that residents of Killington will pay $2.4713 per hundred for their homestead education tax rate; non-residents will pay $2.2581, plus the municipal tax rate. That puts the total for homestead owners at $3.0157 and for non-homestead owners (second homes, businesses, etc.) at $2.8025. Last year the total tax rates were $2.5457 and $2.4803, respectively. So this year’s rates are 18% more for homesteaders (a $0.47 increase) and a 13% more for nonhomestead properties (a $0.32 increase).

For a homestead listed on the grand list at $400,000 that’s an increase of $1,880 — from $10,182.80 to $12,062.80.

Town leaders were expecting a significant increase, but acknowledge that many residents, second home owners and business owners will be shocked. 

“This portion is out of town control,” said Selectman Jim Haff.

Residents can expect to see the increase on their next tax bill, which the town is requred to send out by July 15. The first payment is due Aug. 15. 

“Your Homestead Education Tax Rate is calculated from your city/town voter-approved per pupil education spending adjusted by the common level of appraisal (CLA),” the June 30 letter from the dept. of tax explained.  “Your city/town nonhomestead Education Tax Rate is the statewide rate adjusted by the CLA.”

Killington has the lowest CLA out of all 251 towns in the state at 61.6%. This means home values on the town grand list are estimated to be only 61.6% of their real value. Thus, Killington also now has the highest homestead and nonhomestead tax rates in the state. The CLA is a state metric to ensure taxpayers pay their fair share toward education despite a grand list that is undervalued.

Although in most communities, nonhomestead properties pay a higher tax rate relative to homesteads, in  88 towns the opposite is true, including all seven towns in the Windsor Central Unified Union School District (Killington, Bridgewater, Woodstock, Barnard, Pomfret, Plymouth and Reading).

It is also relevant to note that those who qualify — 64% of homesteaders in 2023 — can pay education taxes based on income rather than their property value, which can significantly decrease their tax burden. The maximum qualifying household income was this past fiscal year was  $136,900. Nonhomestead properties do not have this choice.

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