Another decade of farm tax breaks up for vote in Stowe

Mar 23, 2023

Adecades-old Stowe property tax exemption has ensured that, even as development spreads throughout town, it still tends to end where farmers’ fields begin.

Voters will decide next month whether to let those agrarian tax breaks continue for another decade.

“There wouldn’t be no farmers in Stowe if it weren’t for that,” Paul Percy, one of Stowe’s most prominent dairy farmers, said of the “farmer’s contract” up for a vote on the March 7 Town Meeting Day agenda.

Under the contract, which was implemented in the mid-1970s, participating Stowe farmers are taxed at a flat rate based on a reduced property assessment of $200 per acre enrolled in the contract, which is less than half of what the state taxes agriculture property enrolled in the current use program — as of last year, the state taxes such land based on an appraisal of $429 per acre.

Town property assessor Tim Morrissey said the town will almost certainly increase the tax in the next round of contracts, if voters approve the measure. Still, it will still be less than the state’s rate and much less than fair market rates.

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