BELFAST, Maine — In an effort to ease the pain, the city has decided to split the annual property tax bill into two installments, beginning with the bills that will be mailed out this month.
Treasurer Rickie LeSan said the city’s billing system will automatically divide in half the amount owed for 2012. One notice will be sent, probably sometime next week.
“They’ll get one bill with two stubs on it,” she said. The first half will be due Oct. 26, LeSan said. The second half of the bill will be due March 1. No further notice will be sent, so property owners will have to remember to pay the second half of the bill.
No interest will be accrued on the second half of the bill until after March 1. Property owners can pay in full next month, but they will not get any reduction in the amount owed if they do so, LeSan said.
After four years of holding the line on the municipal budget, and with the RSU 20 board of directors and Waldo County commissioners doing the same, the city council had to increase the tax bill this year by about 10 percent. City, school and county officials have indicated that many expenses could no longer be delayed, and the city could no longer dip into its surplus accounts to cushion the tax blow.
The jump means that taxes on a property valued at $100,000 will increase by about $170, for a total tax bill of about $1,970.
The city’s total financial obligation for the next fiscal year is $13.74 million, including the municipal, school and county portions of the budget. Last year, those budgets added up to $12.39 million.