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The original item was published from 6/30/2023 1:45:05 PM to 7/17/2023 2:55:05 PM.

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City of Winooski News Updates

Posted on: June 29, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Mayor's Update June 30, 2023

Mayor Kristine Lott

Hello Winooski.

On Tuesday, the City Council met to set the Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) tax rate. Starting on July 1, our FY24 municipal tax rate will be $1.2514. For a property assessed at $225,000 (the current average assessed value in Winooski), the FY24 tax rate represents a $139.73 increase from last year (approximately $34.93 per payment period). This is a little higher than we projected in the budget because our Grand List growth was only 0.69%, as opposed to the 0.80% average growth rate we estimated. We set the tax rate every June using the budget approved by voters on Town Meeting Day calculated against the Grand List, which is the aggregate value of the taxable property within the City, to get to the tax rate. You can find all the details in this memo. Note that the State of Vermont has not yet set the Education Tax Rate, which is also part of your property tax bill. 

I know that property taxes concern many residents, as we are not a high-income community. We rely heavily on property taxes because we have much more residential property than commercial or industrial. Our grand list is about $6 million, significantly smaller than our neighboring towns of Colchester at $22 million, South Burlington at $40 million, and Burlington at $58 million. Winooski's ~8,000 residents across ~3,500 households contribute to the total tax base, resulting in a higher cost per household to provide municipal services than in our neighboring communities. 

Winooski's focus on growth over the years has provided a way to increase the tax base and lessen the burden, but with a 1% growth year to year, it's not enough to keep pace with inflation and the cost of living (salaries, healthcare, etc.). Additional revenue like grant funding is often on the table to offset costs, but these opportunities aren't financially sustainable. The voter-approved 1% local options tax continues to be a good strategy for capturing revenue from residents and visitors who support our businesses, but there are few other opportunities like this in Vermont for us to lean on. This is why we must be strategic about what services we provide and where we invest, because we can’t afford to do all the things that residents want and deserve. We make difficult choices every year putting together a budget to provide the highest priority services and projects to Winooski. Community input is critical to making these decisions so please contact us and share your thoughts. We need to hear from more residents all year long - be sure to sign up for our news updates for City Council meeting notices, you can view our schedule and info at winooskivt.gov/council.

Switching gears, I'd like to remind everyone that we're seeking engaged and dedicated residents to serve on our boards, commissions, and committees. Many of these positions have expiring terms ending soon on June 30, 2023. Current members may reapply, and residents who aren't currently serving are welcome to apply! These opportunities are an excellent way to get involved in the public process. Looking to get connected to your neighbors or discover a new way to give back to the community? Applicants with related experience, skill sets, and interests are encouraged to apply. Council and staff welcome diverse voices. If you've never served, we will do our best to support you. Click here to learn more and apply today.

Lastly, many thanks to Downtown Winooski and the Heritage Winooski Mill Museum and to everyone who attended our annual French Heritage Day celebration. If you're interested in other historically themed offerings in Winooski, I highly recommend you check out the Heritage Winooski Mill Museum, located in the Champlain Mill (across from the Winooski Historical Society exhibit). I recently spoke to their Executive Director, Miriam Block, during my latest episode of 'In the World of Winooski'. Watch the episode here or learn more about their programs and exhibits at themillmuseum.org. We've still got a whole summer of events ahead, learn more at downtownwinooski.org/events.  

As always, please reach out any time.

Mayor Kristine Lott

klott@winooskivt.gov / 802 766 1988

 

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