By Kara Herlihy
The Moretown Select Board can't set its tax rate until the town's property appraisal grievance period is up, but the board is expecting an increase that may be as high as 33 percent.
The tax rate cannot be set before the grievance period is up on August 20. Listers from the town of Moretown expect to file the town's Grand List by August 25.
Select board members reviewed the town's finances at this week's meeting and discussed concerns about lack of accurate records for previous fund balances. Without a clear explanation for why it appears that the town is heading for a significant tax increase, the board decided to review the numbers further, and wait one week to set the tax rate.
In 2007, the town tax rate was .2198. For residents, the combined town and school rate was 1.6490, and for non residents, 1.6586. The school rate was set at 1.4292.
The town currently has a budget of $885,656, with $10,000 designated for special articles. There is a tax anticipation loan numbering approximately $400,000, and an estimated $159,000 in Moretown Landfill tipping fees.
Board members discussed how a potential 33 percent increase would be possible, and questioned whether "we thought we had more money than we actually did," according to select board member Paula Mastroberardino.
NO MONTHLY RECORDS
"We had two years of no monthly records, and no indication of funding," she added. Other select board members indicated that the potential increase is the result of "catching up to exhausted landfill costs" and the fact that the town has had to borrow money, where in the past they hadn't had such notes.
Mastroberardino said she would meet with other members of the select board as soon as possible to review the numbers and find any discrepancies that may exist. "People need time to budget for their tax bills," she said.
The select board plans to set the tax rate at a special meeting on Monday, August 25, at the Town Offices.