STAMFORD, Vt. -- Select Board members expressed frustration over the town's 2013 tax rate Thursday night.
The residential tax rate of $1.9148 per $100 of home valuation, approved by Selectboard members Thursday night, is an 8.67 percent increase over 2012, Town Treasurer Dave Fierro Jr. said.
"We need to try to get people to understand, it's the number of people in the town that's the reason why it's high," Selectboard member David Bugbee said. "If you tripled the number of people in the town and put it to Clarksburg's level, the tax rate will be down."
Included in the residential tax rate is an education homestead rate of $1.2359 per $100 of valuation, a figure set by the state.
The non-residential tax rate for 2013 will be $2.1087 per $100 of valuation, a 6.15 percent increase over 2012, and this figure includes an education homestead rate of $1.4298 per $100 of valuation.
The rates set by the town are the highway tax rate of 42 cents per $100 of valuation, and a municipal rate of about 25 cents per $100 of valuation.
"We're paying for the same stuff Clarksburg is, we're just paying twice as much in taxes," Bugbee said. "There's 2,000 people over there, 700 over here."
Road Commissioner David Tatro noted the town also has more miles of road to maintain than Clarksburg.
Fierro told members that the town is in a good financial position. The town's reserves include $72,837 in the municipal fund and $82,387 in the highway fund balance. The reserves could be used for many purposes, including reducing the tax rate and capital improvements, he said, as long as more than 50 percent remains in the account as a safety measure.
The Selectboard decided not to utilize the reserve funds to reduce the rate, as they felt a bigger impact could be made putting the funds toward the town's new salt shed. The board hopes the shed will be built next year at the town garage site on Mill Road.
In other business, Selectmen discussed holding a public auction of town owned properties.
"The point is to get these properties back on the tax rolls," Moderator William Levine explained.
The town owns 23 sites totaling roughly 26 acres in the failed Alpenwald subdivision. The properties have been taken over the last decade in tax sales, Levine said.
On Thursday, Selectmen agreed to contact Thomas Hirchak Company, a Morrisville, Vt.-based real estate auction company, to invite a representative to the board's next meeting.
Selectmen also agreed to send a letter to Michael Batcher of the Bennington Regional Commission, giving him permission to pursue a grant to include Stamford in a Solid Waste Implementation Plan (SWIP) with several other local towns.
To reach Edward Damon,