Special town meeting set for Dorset


DORSET >> At the June 22, 2016 joint meeting of the Town of Dorset, East Dorset Fire District #1, and Dorset Fire District #1, an agreement was adopted to equalize Fire Taxes in Dorset through an inter-local Fire Protective Services Contract. The Selectboard called a Special Town Meeting for August 8th (with voting Aug. 9) on including the contract costs into the Fiscal Year 2017 town budget.

Fire Tax History: As the need for Fire and Water services developed over time in Dorset and East Dorset Villages, so did the Dorset and East Dorset Fire District. Both Districts funded Fire Services through a Fire Tax on the properties in each District. The Dorset District has 1,006 properties and East Dorset has 422. Advances in technology allowed the Fire Departments to work more closely through the years.

Universal Service: In recent years the Dorset & East Dorset Fire Departments have established an automatic aid system where both departments respond to all emergency calls within Dorset. By sharing the service it gives the Town the best possible prospects for response, making it a universal service. Universal services normally have costs shared over the entire Town. Example: residents in Dorset all pay the same tax rates for: Roads, Schools, Police, Rescue, Library etc.

Recent history: 2009-10: At Town Meeting Dorset voters approved a petitioned article to have the Vermont League of Cities and Towns (VLCT) conduct a combined Fire Tax Study to help the Town learn how to correct the disparity between fire taxes in the two Fire Districts within Dorset. The study was completed with inter-local contract chosen as the best option.

2010-11: East Dorset amended the District bylaws to allow for an inter-local contract to supply Fire Services. Dorset residents petitioned an article at Town to combine fire tax through a contact with the Town. Vote passes, 222 to 76. At the Dorset Fire Annual meeting, voters rejected the contract to combine fire tax rates by voting down a proposed contract article. Process stalls.

2015-16: Dorset Fire and East Dorset Fire begin discussions on how to combine the rates. Dorset FD voters allow for funding through inter-local agreement that would combine the tax. Discussion advances. Agreement adopted by group at June 22, 2016 and placed up for vote.

For more information, contact the Dorset Town Offices, at 802-362-4571.

The Town of Dorset will purchase Fire Services at a total cost of $367,792 (East Dorset: $144,067 and Dorset: $223,725) and a uniform tax rate of $0.05214 will be assessed per $100 of value on all property in Dorset.

A home assessed at $300,000 would pay $156.42 in Fire Tax:

The Dorset home balance will increase from $121.90 to $156.42 = +$34.52

The East Dorset home balance will decrease from $267.93 to $156.42 = - $111.51


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