Old Town budget plan would raise taxes 4 percent

Posted May 14, 2012, at 9:37 p.m.
Last modified May 15, 2012, at 11:28 a.m.

OLD TOWN, Maine — Residents could see a 4 percent tax increase in fiscal year 2013 if the newest city budget projections hold up.

The most recent budget numbers, proposed by Councilor Bill Lovejoy at a Monday night budget workshop, fall well short of the $600,000 in reductions the council was asked to find earlier in the budget process.

The budget accounts for a $257,000 increase in revenues from recreation program fees, commercial tipping fees and community pool charges. Lovejoy’s proposal also cuts city expenses by $109,863, reducing the budget by a total of $366,863 from the previous year — roughly $233,000 short of the goal.

City Manager Bill Mayo said he isn’t sure the council will reach its original goal during the budget discussions that are left.

If projections hold out, it would mean a 67-cent mill rate increase, meaning a home valued at $150,000 would see an increase in taxes of $100.50 for fiscal year 2013, according to Mayo.

“If the 4 percent [tax increase] was to improve the city, I wouldn’t have much to say at all,” resident Joseph Pluff said during the meeting.

“We’re maintaining the city, but we’re not improving it,” Pluff added.

Resident Jeffrey Letourneau said the city faces a tough challenge in its fight to cut expenses while still improving facilities in an effort to make Old Town “a viable place to live.”

During budget discussions, the council has struggled to find places to cut. The council was hesitant during an April 24 workshop to eliminate any Police Department positions and favored returning shifts to the Fire Department because hours of overtime and overwork reportedly were taking their toll on fire and rescue personnel.

The council will meet again at 6 p.m. Thursday, when it will discuss the budget further before a special council meeting.

CORRECTION:

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the amount of the projected mill rate increase under the latest budget proposal. According to City Manager Bill Mayo, the proposed budget would mean a 67-cent mill rate increase, not a roughly 2-mill rate increase.

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