BC tax rates set, and New Scotland will pay more than expected

The Bethlehem Central school board adopted the final tax rates for the 2010-11 school year Wednesday, Aug. 11, and tax bills will see Bethlehem residents paying some what less than anticipated and New Scotlanders paying a bit more.

The new rates are 19.64 per $1,000 of assessed property value for town of Bethlehem property owners and $20.27 per $1,000 of assessed value for New Scotland property owners. For owners of a property assessed at $250,000 it would mean a tax increase of $135 for Bethlehem residents and $343 for New Scotland residents.

Total taxes would be about $5,000 for the property owner in either town, before any STAR tax exemptions.

The final tax rate is higher than anticipated in New Scotland by over a full dollar. The inconsistency is the result of a shift in the equalization rates for the Town of Bethlehem. Those rates are intended to create a fair distribution of the tax burden over multiple municipalities in a school district, where assessment rates might differ.

This year, Bethlehem's equalization rate jumped 4 percent to 97 percent, while New Scotland's stayed flat.

Because the equalization rates reflected that Bethlehem's homes were assessed closer to market value than New Scotland's...you need to make an adjustment to make fair values between both towns so everybody's paying their appropriate share of the tax bill, said district CFO Judith Kehoe.

The total amount of taxes the district will collect next year remains unchanged. Voters in the district approved an $88.3 million budget in May with a 3.08 percent increase in the tax levy " Bethlehem's share of the tax levy will go down this year to just under 92 percent, while New Scotland will shoulder slightly more.

Tax bills will be mailed on Labor Day (Sept. 6), and are due by Sept. 30 without penalty.""

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