CALAIS, Maine — City councilors adopted a new budget last week, one that will not raise taxes and yet does not represent major cutbacks. The result is in sharp contrast to last year when the police and fire dispatch center was eliminated to balance lost revenues.
City Manager Diane Barnes said the latest $3.2 million budget — adopted unanimously by the city council — represents an $11,000 decrease from last year. She said county taxes increased by $36,172 and Calais’s share of the school payments decreased by $61,069.
“When all revenues and expenditures were figured in, this resulted in a net decrease of $36,042,” she said. “There will be no mill rate increase.”
Barnes has decreased or stabilized the Calais mill rate each of the five years that she has served as city manager. In 2007, the mill rate was $25.95 per $1,000 valuation, or $2,595 for a $100,000 home.
This year’s mill rate is $23.70, or $2,370 in taxes for a $100,000 home.
Barnes said some small decreases were made to keep the budget balanced but that no positions or major cuts were required. She said $231,314 will be taken from the city’s fund to offset expenditures. “We are paying down our debt,” she said.
A year ago, city councilors were faced with a $263,625 loss in revenues, most of which was because of lost state revenue sharing funds. The move to eliminate local dispatching and utilize the Washington County Regional Communications’ Center saved the city more than $125,000.