Lewiston passes city budget with no tax increase

By Scott Taylor, Sun Journal
Posted May 02, 2012, at 6:49 a.m.

LEWISTON, Maine — Property taxes in 2012-13 will stay the same as this year, city councilors agreed Tuesday night.

The council quickly approved its final budget at Tuesday’s meeting, calling for no increase in property taxes, no increase in sewer and water rates and a $6 annual increase in stormwater fees.

“I think I can fairly say that the budget is good news for our homeowners and businesses,” City Administrator Ed Barrett said. “It will hold the tax rate flat, maintain services and begin to address deferred capital and help manage the city’s overall debt.”

The budget cuts $344,234 in proposed new property taxes by foregoing some equipment and delaying some projects. It was also helped by a $27 million increase in the city’s overall assessed valuation.

Barrett’s original budget, presented in March, called for a $1.9 million increase in municipal spending and 19 cent per $100,000 property tax rate increase.

“But I want to compliment the council for their time and attention, and city staff for coming up with suggestions about what we could do to hold down the tax rate and come up with this budget,” Barrett said.

The budget also reduces the city’s annual debt payments by $300,000. Coupled with cuts last year, that’s a $650,000 increase in annual debt payments since the 2010-11 budget.

Councilors will continue debt discussions next week as they review their capital improvement plan and bond issue for later this year. Barrett said councilors are scheduled to review the borrowing package and proposed projects next Tuesday, with a public hearing and vote scheduled for the May 15 meeting.

(c)2012 the Sun Journal (Lewiston, Maine)

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http://bangordailynews.com/2012/05/02/news/lewiston-passes-city-budget-with-no-tax-increase/ printed on December 29, 2014