On the first night in August – a month whose name comes from the Latin word ‘augere,’ meaning to increase – the Charlotte Selectboard voted unanimously to increase the town’s property taxes, but not by much.
On Thursday, Aug. 1, the total tax rate was set at $1.6857 for residents and at $1.8348 for non-residents. This means that for every $100,000 of property value, a property owner who is a resident of Charlotte will owe $1,686 in taxes and a non-resident will owe $1,835.
This increase from this past year is essentially flat, up from $1.6856. Non-resident property will go up about $28 for each $100,000 of value, from $1,807 to $1,835.
The biggest percentage of local property taxes goes to funding education and the education tax rate is set by the state. The portion of the taxes going to schools is $1.4831 for residents and $1.6322 for non-residents. In other words, $1,483 of the total of $1,686 per $100,000 of property value for residents goes to schools, while $1,632 of the total $1,835 per $100,000 of property value for non-residents goes to schools.
Town Clerk and Treasurer Mary Mead said that tax revenue was down from what had been budgeted for this past year because of delinquent taxes. As of June 30, there was more than $100,000 in delinquent unpaid taxes.
As a consequence, expenses exceeded revenues by more than $38,000, which meant that the fund balance, which had been over $207,000, has been reduced to just over $168,000.
Mead said that the times when the town has significantly increased the fund balance were when they announced tax sales of property to recoup delinquent taxes.
“People were worried that I was actually going to do a tax sale.” said Mead. “The $100,000 is not that bad because the lion’s share is made up of just two people.”
Monday night wastewater discussion
On Monday night, the selectboard met again for a work session on changing the ordinance governing the allocation of wastewater. The board discussed allowing wastewater permits to organizations or projects that are important to the town’s goals for developing the Charlotte West Village Commercial District.
The current wastewater system just serves the town hall, the library, the senior center and the fire and rescue building. The system has a surplus of unallocated wastewater and the potential for increasing the capacity, said David Marshall, chair of the West Charlotte Village Wastewater Committee.
Selectman Fritz Tegatz said, that from the beginning of his tenure on the selectboard, he has been amazed at “how much time and effort that the town has put into zoning and conditional use permits, all the classifications of business district for this particular area and it’s pretty useless if people don’t have toilets.”
“Year after year, all of the desires of the zoning and stuff, this is a tool to allow that to move forward,” Tegatz said.
He said he has heard comments and complaints alleging the town is considering giving away the wastewater allocations.
“The town is certainly not giving away anything,” he said. “They’re charging for it. They’re making sure that it’s used in an effective manner and that it continues to fund itself.”
Tegatz used Thompson’s Point as an example, which some years ago put in a sewer system using easements that were granted by the town.
“You can probably guess there’s been a significant monetary improvement in tax revenues as a result of that.”
Tegatz said he thought that the wastewater system in Charlotte’s west village could have the same potential.
Board chair Matt Krasnow said the proposed ordinance would be brought up for adoption at the selectboard’s next meeting.