Town taxes will likely be going up in St. Johnsbury this year.
The St. Johnsbury Select Board on Monday approved a 2022-2023 town budget that will result in a 2.4 percent increase in money to be raised by taxes inside the special services (village) district and a 3.98 percent tax increase outside the special services district.
This will result in a $57.75 increase in taxes on a $150,000 house inside the special services district and a $59.87 increase on a $150,000 house outside the special services district.
The budget will now be forwarded to the voters at Town Meeting for final approval.
The largest increase is in the town general fund which is seeing a 4.58 percent tax increase.
“This biggest factor in the general fund is the cost of labor,” said St. Johnsbury Town Manager Whitehead. “There’s also a transfer to the special services district that covers the cost of policing that benefits the entire town.”
The $61,400 transfer to the police department will result in a .23 percent decrease in special services taxes.
The second-highest tax increase will be in the town highway budget which is going up by 3.85 percent.
The increase is being driven by a plan to improve the condition of town roads.
“Our paving budget in 2019 was $25,000 which doesn’t even come close to doing what we need,” said Whitehead. “And so, we increased it to $100,000 last year and it was increased to $225,000 in this budget.”
St. Johnsbury Public Works Director Steve Beauregard has said the plan is to use the increased funding for paving projects on Underclyffe Road, Knollwood Terrace, Elm Street, Depot Hill, Hillside Drive, Rocky Ridge and High Street.
The town has also applied for a grant to finish paving work on Breezy Hill. The town did additional re-paving work last year on Mt. Pisgah Road, Hastings Hill and Goss Hollow.
Special Appropriation requests total $305,570 which is a .02 percent increase over last year. The local agreement for veteran property taxes, which is a very small part of the town budget, will be increasing by 12 percent.
Town Meeting Day
The traditional 2022 Town Meeting day is on Tuesday, March 1.
But Whitehead said St. Johnsbury has not made a final decision on its date because the legislature, as it did last year, has once again granted Vermont towns the authority to change the date.
“Legislation changed on Monday which allows municipalities to move the date of Town Meeting,” said Whitehead. “We’re meeting with representatives of the school tomorrow to discuss what they want to do because our meeting is the same as their meeting.”
The school budget is separate from the town budget and school taxes are controlled by the state.
St. Johnsbury held its 2021 Town Meeting in April instead of March due to COVID-19 concerns.