By RUSSELL JONES
The municipal tax rate in Brandon will see an increase of about 3 percent this coming fiscal year, rising from last year’s 93 cents per $100 to 96 cents this year.
The breakdowns for the 2019-2020 tax rates are 80 cents for the town budget, 6 cents for various voter-approved appropriations and 8 cents for the fire district.
The education tax rates have been calculated by the state and come out to $1.33 for residents and $1.55 for non-residents per $100.
With education rates figured in, the total tax rate for a Brandon resident will be $2.29 for residents and $2.51 for non-residents. That means a resident who owns a $200,000 home will pay $4,580 in taxes this coming year. That equates to an increase of about $80 over last year’s rates.
The board voted to unanimously approve the rates.
Otter Creek Wetlands discussion
The selectboard continued its discussion of the proposed change in the Otter Creek Wetland Project’s reclassification from Class 11 to Class 1. Rep. Butch Shaw, R-Pittsford, was at the meeting to provide clarity as to the legislative process that the current petition to change the classification must go through.
“The process is this long,” Shaw said as he spread his arms as far as possible before moving both index fingers to nearly touching at the end of the line he had just mimed. “You’re still here, very early in the process. In fact, you’re in the pre-petition stage of the process.”
Wayne Rausenberger, a resident of Brandon, said he knew of several landowners who still haven’t been notified about the petition.
“When they file a petition that would start the process as far as the Agency of Natural Resources is concerned,” Shaw said. “That would start the ball rolling to notify a whole slew of people and begin public hearings.”
Board member Tim Guiles, who has been the board’s liaison with the steering committee involved in the petition, reminded all that this was a democratic process that would take some time.
“The wetlands are a resource for everyone in the state. When we talk about clean water, we don’t just talk about those living on Lake Champlain,” Guiles said. “That’s part of the democratic process because it’s not just the landowners who have a stake in this.”
Rausenberger asked for the board to vote whether they would support the petition or not, but board chair Seth Hopkins stated a vote might be premature.
“We’ve had a presentation, we’ve had emails from the steering committee that we’ve all read, but I don’t think the board has enough information yet,” Hopkins said. “I feel if we took a vote tonight the board would be divided and I just think it would be putting the cart before the horse if we voted tonight.”
Shaw agreed with Hopkins that a vote would be premature this early. He suggested waiting until after the Agency of Natural Resources receives the petition and starts its process.
• The board passed a resolution of sorrow over the death of Art Doty.
• The next meeting of the board will take place on July 29, rather than the scheduled meeting date of July 22.