OLD TOWN, Maine — City councilors voted Monday night to approve a municipal budget for the coming year that maintains current property tax rates, although the pending school budget is still an unknown.
The council also approved a measure to provide a new home for the city’s municipal offices, which have been in limbo since 1992.
“This is a historic day for Old Town,” proclaimed council chairman David Mahan after the unanimous vote for the new City Hall.
Old Town’s municipal offices will be located in what is now the Bangor Savings Bank building on Main Street. Since 2004, the city has leased the cramped second floor of the building for its offices. But a fast-track deal approved unanimously on Monday night will allow the city to purchase the entire 8,500-square-foot building for $1.25 million.
Bangor Savings Bank will purchase a city-owned lot on Stillwater Avenue in front of the Old Town Elementary School for $350,000, on which it will build a 2,600-square-foot branch office, according to the agreement announced Monday. The revenue from the sale will fund the renovation of the downtown building. The sale is expected to go through within a few weeks, and the bank is expected to move into its new office by November.
“This is really a win-win for Old Town,” Mahan said.
City Manager Peggy Daigle said the city has been looking for permanent space for its offices since 1992, when it became clear it had outgrown the multipurpose municipal building on Middle Street that now houses the police and fire departments.
A 2009-2010 municipal budget of $8,127,219 also garnered the council’s unanimous support. Although it calls for about $200,000 more than the current budget, the difference will be made up out of the city’s Reserve Fund, without raising property taxes or service fees and without laying off any city employees.
Property taxes still could be affected, though, by the city’s share of the new Regional School Unit budget. A public hearing on that budget is scheduled for June 10, with a voter referendum on it scheduled on June 23.
In other business, councilors Monday night approved new shoreland zoning restrictions and a new city ordinance that grants greater municipal oversight of the state-owned Juniper Ridge landfill.