Option Tax Roadmap

Every single Selectboard for the past dozen years has instructed the town manager to lobby the state legislature for this authority. The only thing that is new this year is that the town manager reported to us that we could achieve this long-held goal by amending our Charter. Frankly this should have been obvious back in 2007 when we started down the path to a charter, but it wasn’t made clear until this summer.
The next steps in the process as I understand it are as follows:
1) We send the language to the attorney the town used to review the charter changes after the charter commission finished the technical fixes in summer 2011 for him to affirm that it will accomplish what we intend. We’ll then share his result with the school district on a proforma basis. This will happen this week.
2) Kevin Christie said last night that he will put the Hartford Charter on the legislative agenda today so there is a placeholder. Amazingly, even though the legislature won’t start working until Jan 3, the Speaker has called for the agenda to be finalized next week. Get confirmation by Nov 26.
3) Once the language is blessed by the town attorney, we prepare a version of the charter with this language incorporated.This becomes the reference document for a warrant item. We distribute this to the town and to legislators. We seek to get affirmative responses that there are no problems from the legislative perspective. Step 3 should be finished by Thurs Dec 20.
4) Mon Jan 7 at Information Night there will be a presentation of the case for the local option tax at the kickoff event of the 2013 Town Meeting cycle.
5) We adopt the warrant item in January as it will appear on the ballot Mar 6 on Jan 8.
6) Jan 22 in conjunction with our regular SB meeting we conduct 1st Public Hearing on the change
7) On Community Day, Sat Mar 3, during the morning session (which is for public hearings) we conduct 2nd Public Hearing on the change. (Note – no presentation at Budget/Candidate night on Mon Feb 26 since that is strictly for the budget, which won’t have the tax in it, and for the Candidates. Obviously it will be a hot topic during the Candidate portion of the meeting.)8) Vote Mar 6

9) if passed, next step is to get it through the legislature, sometime in April/May. We will likely need to make the case in Montpelier as opponents will have the opportunity to fight it there as well.
10) if it makes it through the legislature, the Gov will have to sign off
11) if it succeeds to this step, sometime in June the Selectboard will have the ability to impose the tax.
12) If the Selectboard acts immediately during June, the tax would go into effect Oct 1, 2013.
As you can see from the above, there is going to be plenty of opportunity for public discussion.


Did you enjoy this post? Why not leave a comment below and continue the conversation, or subscribe to my feed and get articles like this delivered automatically to your feed reader.


No comments yet.

Leave a comment