Chittenden considers computerized tax map

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(Host) About 75 people turned out for Chittenden’s town meeting. And as VPR’s Nina Keck reports, efforts to clarify the town’s tax list stirred up the most controversy.

(Keck) Town Lister Reggi Dubin says some 900 acres in Chittenden are unaccounted for. Mostly, she says, because of old and inaccurate records. Dubin says most Vermont towns already use computer generated tax mapping to more accurately document who owns what. She says spending $20,000 to create such a map for Chittenden would be a wise investment.

(Dubbin) “I guarantee you that there are people in this room who are paying more property tax than they should and there are people in this room who are not paying their fair share. And it’s not their fault. It’s because we don’t have records that are as accurate as they should be.”

(Keck) For many in the room, cost was a big concern. But others, like Chittenden resident Stan Fishkin, wondered about accuracy – especially after hearing town officials explain that the project would not include any new surveys but would be based on existing documents and records.

(Fishkin) “I find this whole thing almost laughable when we talk about creating a document that will have real legal consequences. Because one of the consequences that everyone in this room is interested in are the tax consequences of what this thing will be, based on data that is fuzzy at best.”

(Keck) But Winnie Dennis, a real estate agent who lives in Chittenden, disagreed. She says most towns couldn’t imagine doing business without such a time saving tool. As she put it, having a town without a tax map is like having a library without a dictionary. Residents in Chittenden will be able to have their say on Tuesday in the voting booth.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Nina Keck in Chittenden.

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