Tax rate to decrease in Millinocket

Posted Oct. 23, 2009, at 10:50 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 12:10 p.m.

MILLINOCKET, Maine — Tax Assessor Michael Noble set a new mill rate at 22.8 on Friday, a drop in the town’s tax rate of 1.4 mills over last year’s rate, he said Friday.

That means residents who own houses worth $100,000 would pay $2,280 in taxes on those properties this year, or $140 less than they paid last year, when the mill rate was 24.2 mills. The first-half payments on the new tax year are due Nov. 20, Noble said.

“I am working right now on editing a proof of the bills,” Noble said Friday, “so Monday or Tuesday they should be mailed.”

The nearest town that most resembles Millinocket by population and demographics, Lincoln, has a mill rate of 20.6, up from 19.24 last year, Lincoln Assessor Ruth Birtz said.

Millinocket’s neighboring town, East Millinocket, has a mill rate of 21.11 for fiscal year 2007-08, while Medway has had a rate of 24.5 mills for the last two years. East Millinocket’s mill rate for 2007 was 21.46.

Medway’s Board of Selectmen likely will set a new mill rate at a special town meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Medway officials said. East Millinocket likely will set a new mill rate within a month or so.

Mattawamkeag’s mill rate for the 2009-10 fiscal year is 19.74, up from 18.35 the previous year and 16.34 before that, town officials said.

Lincoln’s mill rate increased because the town’s school and county services budgets came in combined at about 0 percent higher than expected, Birtz said.

“It was primarily those two reasons,” Birtz said. “We were hoping it would stay under 20. That was the goal and we had successfully done that when we had submitted our municipal budget, but the school budget got voted in by the citizens in Lincoln and that made the difference.”

Noble, who sets the town tax rate as the assessor, discussed setting a new mill rate with the Town Council on Thursday. He presented the council possible new mill rates of 23.6 or 23.1 mills, but councilors opted to lower it further, he said.

Councilors set the lowest rate by dipping into the school system’s anticipated $512,000 budget surplus by $250,000, $100,000 more than Noble and Town Manager Eugene Conlogue recommended to the council. The increased allocation from the town’s budget surplus still left the surplus at just over $1.9 million, up from $1.8 million on July 1, 2008.

The new mill rate means that taxpayers would pay $22.80 per $1,000 of taxable property.

Councilors were unhappy that the school system’s budget had such a heavy surplus, and that school officials failed to get their budgeting information to town hall more quickly.

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