Vermont Legislature Exempts Caspian Lake Public Beach from State Tax

The Vermont State Legislature has passed a bill in the final days of its 2013 calendar which exempts the Caspian Lake Public Beach from state taxes.   This bill, which is a piece of legislation targeted at miscellaneous technical changes to the tax code, amended property tax law to include an exemption for parcels of land which “provide public access to public waters….and which are owned by the Town of Hardwick, and which are located in Greensboro Vermont.”

This bill appears to solve recent questions between Greensboro and Hardwick regarding taxation of the Public Beach.

In 2013, the State of Vermont ruled that the Public Beach, which has been owned by Hardwick sine 1927, be added to the Greensboro tax roll . The Town of Hardwick was assessed for the first time a tax of  over $10,000 on this 2.4 acre parcel, which includes 325 of shoreline. Both Hardwick and Greensboro residents have been unhappy with the state’s position, and have been seeking a number of ways to mitigate Hardwick’s tax bill while maintaining the current full and free use of the property for area residents.

Various possible solutions to the tax problem had been proposed, including sale of the property to a private owner; sale to the Vermont State Fish and Wildlife Department; sale or donation of the property to Greensboro with rights for Hardwick residents to use the beach in perpetuity; and a court case asking for a summary judgment saying that the property is not taxable under state law.

There is still a question of whether taxes are owed for the current year since the bill is effective January 1, 2014.

Thanks to Senators John Rodgers, Jane Kitchell, Robert Starr and Joe Benning, and Representative Kristina Michelsen for their help in this matter.




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