WILMINGTON -- It’s not every year that a town has extra money to use for reducing the tax rate.
"The Selectboard has opted to apply a $590,000 surplus to reduce the amount needed to be collected in taxes," said Wilmington Town Manager Scott Murphy.
On Dec. 18, the board will vote on whether to apply that amount of financial gain against taxes. The surplus is the result of property sales that took place, which also put tax delinquent properties back on the grand list.
One sale had to do with two parcels of land, which had been owned by the town for about seven years. The property was located near the Deerfield Valley Airport. In an effort to develop and extend the runway, those parcels had been sold to the Hermitage Club Real Estate Holding Company over the summer. The deal generated $370,000 for the town.
Murphy said that another source of the additional funds came from careful financial management for two other tax sales that were successful. While conducting the accounting portion of a final audit, the town discussed using the surplus against the raising of taxes.
"That may reduce the overall tax rate by 10 percent," said Murphy.
He told the Reformer that it would not have to be approved by voters in a separate article.
"It would just be built right into the budget," added Murphy.
Budget discussions will resume at the same meeting where the board will consider the surplus.
On Dec. 3, the Selectboard had discussed a proposed $10,000 increase from the Cemetery Commission. There is some paving and other improvements needed in the cemeteries in town.
"We finalized that at $30,000," said Murphy. "That’s locked."
Some of the commission’s work had been delayed or neglected after Tropical Storm Irene when departments were asked to hold the line or reduce budgets.
"That’s the type of stuff that once you let it go, it could be a big expense," Murphy said. "We want it to get caught before it gets out of hand. I think we’ll be able to do that."
The Selectboard had also discussed the possibility for using 1-percent local option tax revenue for social service organizations that asked for an increase in funding. The topic was addressed briefly, but that money could become an option if the organizations are aware of the policy regarding the revenue, which is strictly for economic or community development projects.
"They haven’t finalized the budget, but it looks like they’re going to level fund the social service organization line items," said Murphy.
He told the Reformer that using the local option tax money had been "one of many potential thoughts of discussion that has not been ironed out."
Last year, the town decided to carefully word the uses for that revenue stream. It had brought many voters out to Selectboard meetings to voice their concerns.
For now, the funds have been used for projects that promote economic recovery or support the community. Those who are interested in such projects are asked to submit an application to the town.
Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.