Hersey to see slight decrease in mill rate

Posted July 28, 2010, at 9:27 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 11:54 a.m.

Hersey’s mill rate will likely drop slightly and no significant municipal tax increases are expected when the mill rates in Moro Plantation and Patten are set next month, Patten Town Manager Terri Conklin said Wednesday.

In the final stages of calculating the mill rate for Hersey, a tiny town just inside southern Aroostook County, Conklin said she foresees the town’s new mill rate at 17.25 mills for the 2010-2011 fiscal year, which began July 1.

That’s down from 17.85 mills for the 2009-10 fiscal year, Conklin said.

The new rate would mean that residents who own $100,000 of property would pay $1,725 in taxes annually.

“I am just doing the double-check now, getting it into the computer, but that’s how I have calculated it right now,” Conklin said Wednesday. “I am hoping to finalize the Moro and Patten tax commitments in the next three weeks.”

Hersey and Moro Plantation, which have fewer than 100 residents each, pay Patten to provide town government services, despite their being in Aroostook County and Patten being in the northern end of Penobscot County. Hersey pays $10,600 and Moro pays $9,400 annually, Conklin said.

“That’s what challenges us. We have three towns in two counties,” Conklin said. “There’s different paperwork in each town; different emergency management organizations.”

The Penobscot and Aroostook County sheriff’s departments and state police provide for public safety, while the Patten Fire Department and ambulance service is paid to handle emergencies in the three towns.

Hersey’s Board of Selectmen made the tax drop possible by transferring about $13,000 from a town reserve account to the town’s budget. Also, town department managers worked hard to keep expenses in line, Conklin said.

Hersey will pay $157,532 in town government and educational expenses in the new budget, offset by $40,708 in revenues, with $116,825 coming from residential taxes, Conklin said.

Moro and Patten had mill rates of 9.9 and 23.0, respectively, in the 2009-10 fiscal year, Conklin said.

“All of our towns worked really hard to keep municipal appropriations down because we know that revenues have decreased,” Conklin said. “We are confident there will be no significant increases, despite the decrease in state revenue. When we did the budgets, we did a quick commitment check then and we made some little changes here and there.”

Local tax commitments usually come out in July, at the start of the new fiscal year.

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