Talking in generalities about the tax impact of adding 100-200 units of housing is not very helpful. Residents of Norwich deserve data from the Planning Commission on the projected tax impact on the CHANGES to zoning aimed to increase development in our Town.
With respect to the school budget, cost per pupil drives the state school tax rate. Norwich spends about $17,000 per pupil and the State says about $9700 is the average. The cost per pupil only decreases for certain if we add students and the school budget does NOT increase. A handful of new students per grade might do that. But, if you add 100+ students and want small class size, then you need more teachers, aides and administrators. Salaries make up about 80% of the school budget.
Here are several questions for the Planning Commission regarding the MCS school budget:
1. How many added units from the rezoning, with and without affordable housing bonuses;
2. What is the projected increase in school-age students if there is a build out of 10-50% per year of this capacity;
3. What is the projected impact on the MCS budget and on cost per pupil if students added at the various build out rates; and
4. What is the projected impact on the homestead tax rate?
Part of planning includes understanding the impact of probable outcomes. If the goal is to add more housing (whether affordable or affluent), then the Town is entitled to know the tax impact of the changes to our zoning laws.
Thanks for reading. Chris Katucki