The Town of Newfane announced at its August 1 st Selectboard meeting that an error was made in the calculation of the tax rate for the current fiscal year. The municipal tax rate was set at 0.5501 instead of 0.6695. The impact of the error is that the town would collect $300,197 less than it needs to cover its expenses. This shortfall represents a little more than 15% of our annual expenses.
The error occurred when the tax rate was being calculated and the anticipated revenue was deducted twice. As a result, our tax bills and tax revenue for the year is $300,197 short. The mistake was realized by the town office staff after the bills were sent out. In a meeting last week, procedures were agreed upon to ensure that new checks are in place so this doesn’t reoccur.
The question that needs to be addressed is how to correct the mistake. The Selectboard discussed two possible options. First would be to issue new, corrected tax bills. The second would be to use the town’s surplus funds.
If new tax bills are issued to every homeowner, the impact would be an additional $120 annual taxes owed for every $100,000 of home value. Therefore, a home valued at $200,000 would owe an additional $240 (or $60 per quarter); a home valued at $400,000 would owe an additional $480 (or $120 per quarter).
The alternative is to use the town’s surplus to cover the shortfall. This year the town has a larger than usual surplus, approximately $500,000, due to a recent reimbursement from FEMA for expenses incurred over 10 years ago during Tropical Storm Irene. Because the reimbursement was so long overdue, all loans that Newfane had taken out for the repairs have been repaid in full. The FEMA funds therefore represent a surplus to the town’s budget which can be spent in any way the town chooses.
At the August 15 th Selectboard meeting, the two options will be discussed. If new bills are to be sent out, that will be decided at the meeting. If the choice is to use the surplus, it requires the approval of the town. A special town meeting is already planned for September 20 th at 6:00pm at the Newbrook Fire Station to vote on whether Newfane wants to allow the retail sale of cannabis. In addition to voting on cannabis, if the Selectboard does not vote to reissue the tax bills, there would be an article on the ballot to decide whether to move a portion of the surplus funds into what is called a “rainy-day fund” which would allow the Treasurer to pay out the shortfall from the tax bills from this fund.
Please join the Selectboard meeting on August 15 th at 6:00pm in person or via Zoom to share your thoughts. You are also welcome to send an email to the Selectboard. Please send it to email@example.com.
WARNING: Please be aware that the Town of Newfane is not sending out emails regarding new tax bills. If you receive one, please do not open it or reply. It appears to be a scam. The Newfane Treasurer will not be mailing out new tax bills until July, 2022. If a revised tax bill is necessary for anyone, it will be sent by mail, not by email. The only tax bills that are sent by email are when someone requests a copy be sent that way.
The Williamsville Arch Bridge will be closed starting on Tuesday, March 15 until October 2022. (Read more)
A statement passed by the Selectboard at the Sept. 21, 2020 meeting: The Town of Newfane condemns hate speech, prejudice, and acts intended to induce fear in any person based on their identity. We are a community of diverse backgrounds and opinions, and we draw strength from it. Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and feel safe in our beautiful town.
Call your neighbors, which you know are home alone.
Vermont Department of Taxes Issues 2020 Tax Season Guidance
in Response to COVID-19 Emergency
The Vermont Department of Taxes continues to carefully monitor the evolving situation related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The Department is working closely with the office of Governor Phil Scott and the Vermont legislature, following changes at the federal level, and adhering to guidance from the Vermont Department Health. Please see the Department’s information on relief for Vermont taxpayers at tax.vermont.gov/coronavirus. You should check this link periodically as the guidance may change. You may also follow the Vermont Department of Taxes on Facebook and Twitter.
Peter Case interviews Newfane Town Clerk Carol Hesselbach about early voting procedures in Newfane
Chartered: June 19, 1753
Area: 25,615 Acres = 40.02 Square Miles
Coordinates: N 42° 59′ W 72°39′
Altitude: 536 feet ASL
Population (US Census, 2010): 1,726