As The Valley Reporter went to press on August 4, Fayston's listers were finishing up three full days of grievance hearings.

Fayston released a new townwide appraisal last month and taxpayers had until August 2 to notify the town of their intent to grieve the new appraisal. The listers heard from taxpayers this week and will notify those who grieved, by letter, of any changes in appraised values by the middle of next week.

The new Grand List will be sent to the state next week so that the state can calculate Fayston's CLA (Common Level of Appraisal) and statewide education property tax rate.

Property owners will receive their tax bills for 2010 shortly after the state sets the education tax rate. Those who did not receive the relief they sought during grievance hearings can appeal their new appraised value to the town's Board of Civil Authority which will hold its hearings early in the fall.

The new appraisal for the town increases the Grand List from $286 million to $370.6 million. The new appraisal may not bring the town's valuation up to 100 percent of fair market value, something a town needs to have its CLA at or near 100 percent. The state uses the CLA to determine each town's statewide education tax rate. Towns must reappraise if their CLA falls below 80 percent of fair market value.

Last week, chief lister Gussie Graves said she expects the new tax rate for 2010 to be around $1.50 for residential properties and $1.54 for nonresidential properties.

Taxpayers can use the ratio of the old Grand List to the new Grand List to determine if their taxes would increase or decrease. The ratios are listed in the tax appraisal booklet that was mailed to taxpayers last month.

The average ratio of the old to new Grand List is 77.2 percent. Properties with a ratio of 77.2 percent will see no change in their tax burden. Taxpayers with ratios higher than 77.2 percent will see a decrease in their taxes and those with ratios lower than 77.2 percent will see an increase in their taxes.

The town did not use a three-year look back on real estate sales to do the reappraisal. The state uses a three-year look back to assess a town's CLA. Graves said the listers used only one year of real estate sales to do the reappraisal. Fayston last reappraised in 2004.

The town was assisted in the reappraisal by an independent contracted appraiser, Tom Vickery. While listers Graves, Tony Egan and Fred Spencer conducted most of the appraisals, Vickery appraised the properties of town officials. There are 1,174 parcels of property in the town and almost all property values increased.