By Brett Yates
The Mendon Select Board has set the municipal tax rate for 2021–2022 at 0.3973%, which means that Mendon homeowners will pay 16.4 fewer cents in municipal taxes per $100 of assessed property value than they did last year.
That’s mostly because their assessed property values skyrocketed during the spring’s townwide reappraisal, which caused Mendon’s Grand List to rise by 36.3%, while the voter-approved annual budget ($1,211,999) increased by only 2% in March. In 2017, the state ordered the reappraisal — originally due in 2020 but extended to 2021 due to Covid — because Mendon’s “coefficient of dispersion” (COD, the measure by which the Department of Taxes monitors inconsistency and potential unfairness in municipal property assessments) had exceeded 20%.
Ironically, the reappraisal — executed at what one local taxpayer, during the Select Board’s last meeting, called “the height” of a Vermont real estate bubble — brought Mendon’s common level of appraisal (CLA) from 95.3% to 131.69%, the second-highest in the state and well above the statutory maximum of 115%. The CLA — one of two calculations that can trigger a state-mandated reappraisal, along with the COD — compares sales prices over a three-year period to assessed values.
According to Town Clerk and Treasurer Nancy Gondella, Mendon finished 2020–2021 with a surplus of “about $258,000” on June 30. The Select Board voted on July 26 to use $100,000 of that sum for 2021–2022 tax relief, which also contributed to the lowering of the municipal rate this year.
Gondella attributed the town’s surplus, in part, to an unfilled highway maintenance position. She advised the Select Board to ask voters at the next town meeting for permission to place another $100,000 of the leftover money into a contingency fund that might cover tax relief for 2022–2023 and, on their own authority, to transfer the remainder into the town’s highway fund, but the board has yet to act on either recommendation.
Mendon’s homestead education tax rate, set by the state, will dip from 1.5092% to 1.1578% in 2021–2022. This represents a drop of 23.3%, almost as much as the decrease in the municipal rate (30.2%). The local agreement tax, which funds a partial property tax exemption for qualified disabled veterans, will fall from 0.0018% to 0.0006%.
The total residential tax rate in Mendon comes to 1.5377, a decrease of 25.15%.
Mendon homeowners will pay their first 2021–2022 tax bill on Sept. 13.