Georgia sets tax rate

Georgia’s Selectboard set the town tax rate at $0.2750 on Monday night, a 1.8 percent increase over last year.

The municipal portion accounts for about $10 of homeowners’ tax increase in 2017-2018, treasurer Amber Baker said.

Added to the school’s base homestead rate of $1.3565 and the $0.0020 veterans’ exemption – both also up from last year – homeowners will be taxed $1.6336 per $100 of assessed property value to cover the $1.67 million budget approved at Town Meeting.

For a $400,000 home, that translates to about a $75 increase on tax bills. The most recent median sale price of a home in Georgia was recorded at $260,248; a home with that valuation would see a $50 tax increase for 2017-2018.

The homestead rate grew by 1.8 percent this year, and the veterans’ exemption – a 2009 voter-approved measure to partially exempt disabled veterans from property taxes – increased by $0.0005.

“We have no say on the local agreement,” Baker reminded the board on Monday night. “There’s nothing we can do about that; the voters voted it in.”

She attributed that increase to more development in town: This year, taxes will raise an additional $12,129 to cover partial exemptions for four more veterans.

Added development is also to thank for growth in the grand list, though, which currently sits at nearly $6.1 million – up from about $5.9 million this time last year.

Overall, the total residential tax rate with town and school portions combined is up two cents from last year’s $1.6145; residences account for 77 percent of Georgia’s property, the town plan shows.

At $1.8155, the non-residential tax rate grew by $0.0447 – about 2.5 percent – from 2016-2017.

Georgia has traditionally enjoyed one of the lowest tax rates in Franklin County, despite having a higher median home price than neighboring communities. At budget time earlier this year, Baker said the selectboard takes pains to keep a tight rein on town finances.

“The board really tries to be very understanding of peoples’ needs and that things are tight,” she said then, calling the $0.0006 municipal tax rate increase “phenomenal.”

Up by just 1 percent over the prior year’s spending, this budget accounted for added police presence – the town nearly doubled Franklin County Sheriff’s coverage – and modest increases for parks and recreation, land conservation and improvements to the veterans’ monument.

Taxes are due in Georgia on October 16.

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