Haney Claims $3.4 million in Town Savings from Consolidations
But Only the Village Saw Those Savings
If Consolidations Saved $$$, Where's the Tax Relief?
SB Chair Elaine Haney claimed on Front Porch Forum (Feb. 24th) that consolidations have saved millions to date: "Between FYE 2014 and FYE 2022, the Town has saved $3.42 million. "
Where did those savings go?
One would expect to see a noticeable reduction in tax rate, rather than a continual increase.
Instead, we see ever increasing Town tax rates, which are shown below, then graphed over time.
Were those savings exceeded by extra spending?*
You can see below that the slope of increase in Town tax rates for TOV taxpayers shows no signficant decrease during the time period that Haney named, 2014 - 2022.
In fact, when the numbers get crunched, we see that our tax rate growth, post-consolidation, is nearly the same as before.
The only "savings" was due to tax relief provided by the Selectboard in 2020 due to COVID. (The SB held the tax rate flat, despite the increase approved at Town Meeting.)
Prior to 2014, the tax rate increased at 1.06% APR. From 2014 onward, the tax rate increased at 1.02% APR.
So much for any savings! Barely Noticeable. That's less than a $1 reduction in increase on a $280k assessed home.
Town-inside-the-Village tax rates went up drastically during the same time period.
You can see below that the slope of increase in Town tax rates for TIV taxpayers shows a very signficant increase during the 2014 - 2022 time period in which Haney boasts about savings.
* What might these extra expenditures have been?
We originally suspected the merger was the money pit:
- T-shirts promoting Merger
- Hiring a Merger Project Manager
- Banners promoting Merger
- Booklet promoting Merger
- Staff costs for 25 extra meetings (plus preparation)
Upon further examination, however, it appears the extra Town expenses were not the product of excessive additional spending.
Instead, the cost was due to providing mega-savings to the Village taxpayer!
Village Tax Relief is Where All the "Savings" Went!
To reiterate, SB Chair Elaine Haney claimed on Front Porch Forum (Feb. 24th) that consolidations have saved millions to date: "Between FYE 2014 and FYE 2022, the Town has saved $3.42 million. "
She is inaccurate:
The Town, actually, saved nothing. Its tax rate held steady.
The Village, on the other hand, saved more than $3 million dollars, as its tax rate data show, to the tune of more than $500,000 per year for 7 years.
The proof is in the decreased Village tax rates, beginning in 2016, which are shown below, then graphed over time.