LINCOLN, Maine — A slight increase in taxes might occur this year, due in part to the passage of a $5.2 million municipal budget for 2009-10 that is about $64,000 smaller than this year’s budget.
Acting on a series of 32 motions, the Town Council easily passed the budget during its meeting Monday. There was little discussion. Motions usually passed unanimously, but Councilors Marscella Ireland, Michael Ireland and Thora House were among those who occasionally offered dissenting votes.
House said she “very strongly objects” to the council’s agreeing to increase the annual interest on delinquent tax payments to 9 percent, the maximum allowable under state law.
“People have a hard enough time” making ends meet during the current recession without the town seeking more money from them, House said.
Marscella Ireland usually objected to any proposed increases to Town Manager Lisa Goodwin’s budget.
Despite the $64,000 decrease in spending, which represents a cut of about 1.2 percent, in preparing her budget Goodwin anticipated a decrease in revenues of about $230,132, or 8 percent, she said. An anticipated increase in valuation would likely increase the mill rate for municipal services by about 6 cents.
That increase, however, is not guaranteed. Penobscot County assessments are up 8 percent and the proposed RSU 67 budget is not final, Goodwin said.
The new mill rate typically doesn’t emerge until fall.
Among the municipal budget reductions for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, are a 33 percent cut in the Ballard Hill Community Center’s $48,045 account for 2008-09 and a 24.5 percent cut in the town’s $81,506 debt service payment budget for 2008-09, budget documents show.
At 7 p.m. today at Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln, the new Regional School Unit 67 board of directors is set to review a $12.34 million budget for the 2009-10 fiscal year.
Superintendent Michael Marcinkus’ proposed budget represents an increase over this year’s budget of only 0.74 of a single percentage point, he has said.
A series of cuts to the school budget, the use of some federal stimulus money, and the closing of the Dr. Carl Troutt School in Mattawamkeag saved Chester, Lincoln and Mattawamkeag taxpayers from a larger tax increase, Marcinkus said, but weren’t enough to entirely offset a $65,000 reduction in state education funding, a $141,000 increase in local matching funds and a $141,000 increase in local education funding caused by revaluation.