By Lani Duke
CASTLETON—Castleton’s Board of Civil Authority will determine whether the Castleton Historical Society, Bomoseen Grange 273, and Castleton Community Seniors, Inc., get to keep their tax-exempt status. In the past the town’s voters regularly approved their tax-exempt status every five years at March town meeting.
However, voters didn’t have that opportunity this spring. None of the three was on the ballot because none filed its request to take the issue to the electorate. The three groups will know whether they argued their plea successfully in early August.
Each of the three has a different tale for how it missed the deadline to file, and each owns valuable real estate. The Historical Society owns three pieces of property: Higley House Museum, the Old Cobbler Shop, and the Bul building, the former town office site. It pays taxes on the apartment in Higley House and is prepared to pay taxes on the Bul building if it makes a profit, according to society president Holly Hitchcock. In the past, the tax-exempt forms seemed to just appear, and no one thought about checking to make sure why they had not done so before town meeting.
The Grange’s chief (unofficial) paperwork pursuer, Betty Dimick, died not long ago. She would have taken care of the process.
For the Castleton Community Seniors Inc., the group that owns and operates the Castleton Community Center, the snag arose because of being unsure of the date by which the paperwork needed to be filed.