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General Brown’s 2013 tax rates set

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DEXTER — A 5.38 percent increase in the General Brown Central School District’s tax levy actually means tax rate increases mostly below 3.6 percent for municipalities within the district.

Although some district residents argued this spring for a lower tax levy increase because they didn’t want their tax rate to go up that same amount, district Treasurer Lisa K. Smith said the levy and rate are two completely different numbers. A tax levy is the total amount to be raised by taxes, while a tax rate is a specific amount set per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

“I think in General Brown’s case, the most development has been in the town of Brownville,” she said. “That’s new property on the tax roll; that lowers everyone’s rate.”

Brownville’s rate increased 9 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, or 0.79 percent, from $13.91 in 2012 to $14 in 2013. Hounsfield’s increased by 34 cents, or 2.46 percent, from $8.76 in 2012 to $9.10 in 2013. Town of Watertown residents will pay $13.38, a 49-cent or 3.6 percent, increase, from 2012’s $12.89. In the city of Watertown, district residents paid $9.84 in 2012, but that rate will increase 50 cents, or 3.53 percent, to $10.34 for 2013.

The town of Lyme had a revaluation, which went from a 0.31 equalization rate to a 1.0. Because of that, Mrs. Smith said, the tax rate adjustment is deceiving, having been $28.27 in 2012 and now $9.10 in 2013. That is a decrease of 82.37 percent.

In the town of Pamelia, however, the 2012 rate of $14.6 increased 83 cents, or 6.2 percent, for 2013. Mrs. Smith said she suspects the picture there will be quite different next year, as subdivisions are going up.

That means more properties will share the tax responsibilities, and that should decrease the rate among Pamelia residents within the General Brown district. Although new development is planned, she said, it’s also important for residents to keep in mind that projects are not guaranteed.

That was the case in the 2012-13 school year, when Eagle Beverage pulled out of its plan to build a warehouse in the Jefferson County Corporate Park. Luckily for the district, a FedEx facility is now planned to be constructed there.

While the budget process typically begins in January of each year, Mrs. Smith said it’s important for district residents to remember they won’t know their specific tax rate until August.

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