MILLINOCKET, Maine — No tax increases or cuts in town services will occur if the Town Council approves Town Manager Eugene Conlogue’s proposed $8.66 million municipal and wastewater budget.
“It’s essentially a maintenance budget, with a few reductions,” Conlogue said Tuesday. “We are thinking there will be a small reduction in the mill rate this year, but that is not a guarantee because we do not have the fiscal 2010 valuation for Katahdin Paper as yet.”
Katahdin Paper Co. LLC is the town’s largest employer. Councilors will meet in special session at 4 p.m. today to discuss the budget after an executive session on an unrelated matter. The budget will not be final until sometime after the school committee proposes its 2009-2010 fiscal plan to the council on June 11. The committee was due to meet Tuesday to discuss its budget in a workshop.
At first glance, Conlogue’s budget seems about $900,000 greater than the town’s $7.76 million budget for the 2008-09 fiscal year, which ends June 30, but the new year’s plan is actually about $200,000 less than this year’s, he said.
It includes about $1.1 million for three special capital projects that state and federal grant money will pay for, Conlogue said. The projects are:
— The removal of trees, brush and other visual obstructions from just outside the grounds of Millinocket Regional Airport for an estimated $300,000.
The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to reimburse the town for 95 percent of the project’s cost, Conlogue said.
“We believe that this project will be funded, but it is not a done deal until FAA announces that it is,” Conlogue said. “We anticipate that is our big project for the year. We will not expend anything until the award of the grant is confirmed.”
— The creation of a walking and biking trail along Millinocket Stream for about $625,000. About $500,000 of that will be funded by a federal grant, and the local match of $125,000 will consist almost entirely of Maine Department of Transportation funds and town in-kind service donations that will not directly affect town coffers.
— A multiuse recreational bridge on Route 11 across the Penobscot River that will cost about $200,000.
State grant money will pay for it, “though we may do a little in-kind service as well,” Conlogue said.
Conlogue lists the projects as part of his budget “so we have a place to record the expenditures when the money comes in,” he said. “We will be revising the budget in the fall.”
The cuts in Conlogue’s budget include $100,000 from the town’s regular capital improvements account; $26,000 from the account for retiree benefits; and $25,000 from the town’s paving account.