Dexter’s $3.57 million budget up for adoption Thursday

Posted July 12, 2011, at 7:23 p.m.

DEXTER, Maine — To fund a proposed $3.57 million budget, the Dexter Town Council on Thursday is expected to approve a tax rate not to exceed $16 per $1,000 property valuation.

Town Manager David Pearson said the mill rate is likely to increase by one mill to $15.50 per $1,000 property valuation after the taxes have been committed.

“You very seldom get a budget that everybody is happy with, and I guess this is a budget that not everybody is happy with,” Pearson said Tuesday. “It represents significant cost cutting on our part.”

He said the town will have to do more with less since there will be one less plow truck on the road. In addition, there will be cutbacks in the recreation program.

The proposed budget includes a 3 percent cost-of-living increase for members of the town’s bargaining unit but no increase for its other employees.

The $3,571,931 budget actually reflects a decrease of $229,838 in expenditures but an increase of $299,374 in taxation because of school costs, according to Pearson.

Pearson said county taxes increased by about $16,000 and the school budget increased by

about $299,000. He said that while the school’s budget was less than last year, a funding gap occurred because of less state subsidy and an increase in state valuation caused by the town’s earlier revaluation. As a result, the town’s contribution to the school budget increased about 9 percent.

The town also brought in a significantly smaller budget than the previous year, but a funding gap of about $200,000 occurred there because revenues are down, according to Pearson.

Despite Pearson’s recommendation to offset both the school and municipal increases through the town’s healthy undesignated fund balance, or surplus, the council is expected to offset the municipal gap through the fund balance and raise the school’s gap through property taxes.

Pearson said the town has $1.6 million in the undesignated fund balance. Auditors advise

towns to have enough in the fund to operate for three months in the event of an emergency, which in Dexter’s case would be $1.1 million.

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