BETHEL — Town Manager Christine Landes, using the proposed tax rate calculated in the last budget cycle, said taxes on a home valued at $100,000 would increase to roughly $1,470 a year under the 90 percent property valuation, 10 percent student enrollment cost-sharing formula proposed for School Administrative District 44. After that, it would be about $1,490 a year under the 85/15 percent split, resulting in a total tax increase of about $269 a year.

With the current cost-sharing formula, based 100 percent on property valuation, a Bethel property owner pays approximately $1,350 a year in taxes on a home valued at $100,000. 

A Bethel resident, who wished to remain anonymous, gave their take on the potential formula change.

“A lot of voters feel that the funding change in Newry is only making the second and third homeowners have lower taxes and the residents of the other towns that own one home and live here year-round will feel the brunt of the cost-shifting,” the source said. “If the change is approved, Newry taxes will be substantially lower.”

But Newry Town Administrator Amy Bernard said that even though under the 90/10 split taxes would decrease $69 per year on a house valued at $100,000, taxpayers wouldn’t necessarily see that savings. Those funds would probably be allocated to something else, such as paying off the town’s bonds.

Another Bethel resident, who also wished to remain anonymous, said their concern is that if the formula change does go through, the tax increases will have an impact on the local economy, which may result in school budget cuts.


“If Newry withdraws it would be devastating, I think (the) cost-sharing (change) is the better alternative, but if this passes, Newry hasn’t made any indication they’re going to stop the process,” the source said.

Newry resident Jim Sysko’s said at the public hearing on Oct. 11 that even if the formula change is approved, Newry will continue its withdrawal efforts.

However, Bonnie Largess, also on the Withdrawal Committee, said Sysko’s opinion is not shared by all.

“Even though Mr. Sysko is entitled to his opinion, that’s his opinion,” Largess said.  “He’s not speaking for everyone on the committee.”

“Should the Newry Withdrawal Committee still want to continue, they’re going to have to go back to the voters and ask for more money, and they may not get it,” Bernard said.

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