Home News and Features City News Town Meeting 2021: Montpelier School Tax Increase Drops, Many Offices Uncontested

Town Meeting 2021: Montpelier School Tax Increase Drops, Many Offices Uncontested

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Montpelier City Hall, by Artaxerxes is licensed with CC BY-SA 3.0.

With two weeks to go until Town Meeting Day, most Montpelier residents should have received their ballots by mail. Here’s an updated look at the uncontested races and tax-related items that voters will decide.

School Budget

A tax increase once projected at 17.9 cents has been pared to 5.7 cents without cutting spending. The reason for the initial whopping increase was a projected reduction in the state’s property dollar yield. That amount, set by the legislature, is still not final, but projections now show a much more favorable number. 

The table above shows the latest estimate of Montpelier residential property tax bill increases that will occur if the municipal and school budgets are adopted and passed and all other ballot items are approved, including petitioned requests. Most Montpelier homeowners receive state property tax credits that reduce their property tax bills; the figures above reflect the proposed increases for those who do not receive any of these credits.

The 5.7-cent increase, from $1.726 in FY21 to $1.783 in FY22, represents a 3.1 percent increase in the education property tax rate (see chart). The total budget request is $25,783,584, a 2.8 percent increase over last year’s amount. According to school officials, 5 cents of the tax rate increase is attributable to Montpelier’s low property value assessment, which is roughly 85 percent of fair market value as calculated by the state.

Municipal Budget

Still facing a loss of revenue because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the city budget proposal would raise the municipal tax rate by a scant 0.7 cents per $100 of assessed property value (see chart).

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Uncontested City Races

In addition to the contested City Council races highlighted elsewhere in this issue, District 2 Councilor Jack McCullough is unopposed in seeking a second two-year term, and City Clerk John Odum is unopposed in seeking a fourth three-year term. 

Also, Darragh Ellerson and Barbara Smith are unopposed for seats on the Green Mount Cemetery Commission, and Lincoln Frasca is the only candidate for a spot on the Parks Commission. Brent Householder is running unopposed for an at-large seat on the Central Vermont Public Safety Authority.

School Board Races

Three incumbent board members are unopposed in seeking to retain their seats. Amanda Lucia Garces and Mia Moore are running for three-year seats and Emma Bay-Hansen is running to complete the final year of the seat to which she was appointed. Tammy Legacy is running for School District Clerk and Shelley Quinn is seeking to remain as School District Treasurer. 

Ballot Items

The usual spending requests and a vote on whether the city should allow the sale of recreational marijuana when it becomes legal next year. A positive vote is mandated by the legislature for any town that wishes to allow retail sales.

How to Vote

Mail-in and early voting is underway. Polls will be open at City Hall as usual from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 2. Voters who have not received a mail-in ballot should contact the City Clerk’s Office.