I would like to take a minute and explain the BCEMS school budget increase to the taxpayers and voters of the City of Barre.
The Times Argus reported in a recent article (2/19/13) that the BCEMS budget is increasing by over 12%. This is true. However, what the paper did not explain is that you will not see a 12% increase in your taxes! A very large portion of our increase (9% of it) is due to an increase in special education expenses.
The part that most people in the community do not understand is that when you are voting, you are only voting on the expense side of the budget. There is a whole other side, which is the revenue side. Things like special education are reimbursed, so we will not be paying all of the special education increase; we will see some money from the state that will offset the cost. There is a very complicated formula that includes the expense side, the revenue side, the common level of appraisal (which helps equalize school spending in VT) and a variety of other factors.
When you look at the bottom line of what the BCEMS budget will mean for your taxes, the increase is only 4.5 cents. This includes the separate articles for our school resource officer and the longterm maintenance fund. That is 4.5 cents per $100 of assessed value of your home. If your home is valued at $160,000, then your taxes will go up $72. This is equal to $6 a month.
School financing is very confusing. If you have any questions or are trying to figure this out and need to speak with me, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 476-5569. I would be more than happy to help!