Two hundred thirty of Moretown’s 1,375 registered voters gave the power to select a delinquent tax collector to the select board in Tuesday’s primary election.
Article 5 of the special articles voted on during the August 9 primary asked, “Shall the voters of the town of Moretown authorize the select board to appoint a collector of delinquent taxes pursuant to 17 VSA 2651(d)?”
The vote for giving the power to appoint the delinquent tax collector to the select board was 230-178.
The select board brought forth that particular special article after many voters complained about being penalized for late payment of property taxes. Moretown voters, at Town Meeting 2015, voted to have their taxes due in the town treasurer’s office by October 31 rather than having taxes postmarked by that day. Many taxpayers who mailed their taxes by October 31 were considered delinquent and assessed a penalty.
When taxpayers complained to the select board, the select board asked longtime delinquent tax collector Craig Eilers to return the penalty fees. Eilers resisted, noting that it would be impossible to determine how to fairly exempt some late players from penalties and not others.
Eilers, who is elected by voters, is not bound to follow the directives of the select board and board members talked openly in public meetings of seeking the power to appoint the delinquent tax collector so that that person would do their bidding more readily.
Select board members also suggested that appointing a delinquent tax collector could save the town money but talked about parceling those duties out to the current town clerk and town treasurer and adjusting their salaries accordingly.
The board did point out that the late tax penalty fees, traditionally paid to the delinquent tax collector as a salary, would remain with the town.
Eilers, who was re-elected as delinquent tax collector at Town Meeting in March 2016, remains the town’s delinquent tax collector until his term expires next year at Town Meeting.
In other special ballot items, Moretown voters voted 312-102 to purchase a used fire truck for $85,000 and approved two different sets of zoning regulation revisions by votes of 208-142 and 201-143.
See box on Page 1 for gubernatorial results from Valley towns.