Budget plans in Calais hold mill rate steady

Posted May 31, 2009, at 7:57 p.m.

CALAIS, Maine — The city held the line on its 2009-10 municipal and school budgets, and so the mill rate is expected to remain the same as last year.

The City Council approved the municipal budget last week; the school board approved its portion of the budget earlier.

The school budget goes before voters for final approval on Tuesday, June 9.

The municipal and school budget totals more than $13 million, $266,569 less than last year. Of that, the school budget, if approved by voters, will be $8.7 million or $127,844 less than last year.

The county budget for the city is $18,577 less than last year’s county budget.

The city’s mill rate is $24.70.

“[There is] no increase in the mill rate at this point,” City Manager Diane Barnes said last week. Barnes praised her department heads for holding the line on their budgets.

What will help this year’s budget, Barnes said, will be the startup of the city’s own ambulance service, which is expected to begin July 1. The city no longer has to budget the more than $90,000 fee it used to pay to the regional ambulance service, and anticipates revenue from patients using the new service.

“Plus we are generating some revenue from the ambulance service in the form of rent that is showing up on the revenue side,” Barnes said, referring to the plan for the ambulance service to rent a portion of the city’s fire station.

She said the city’s heating costs for municipal buildings is not expected to increase because the city has locked in a price with a local fuel oil company.

The Police Department will get a new cruiser, but money for that is already in the equipment fund, “so it already has been set aside,” she said.

The city plans to take $100,000 out of the city’s fund balance to fix the roof on the Public Safety Building. “Other than that, I am not going to take any more,” she said. She said the city had about $800,000 in its fund balance. “It is for any unexpected high ticket emergencies,” she said of the fund balance.

What is unknown is how much money the city will receive from the state for road maintenance assistance.

Barnes said she budgeted $100,000 of city money and in the past the state has kicked in about $45,000.

“What I don’t know yet is how much we are going to get from the state and the local road assistance,” she said. “If the local road assistance comes in less than what I budgeted then we will just do less roads.”

She said she should know in the next couple of weeks.

bdncalais@myfairpoint.net

454-8228

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