MEDWAY, Maine — Reductions in town revenues caused by state business enhancement programs and a double-billing forced town leaders to increase the town’s mill rate, officials said Monday.
Bills reflecting the town’s new property tax rate, 27.2 mills, have already been sent. Payments are due Dec. 31. The new rate represents an increase of 2.2 mills, town Administrative Assistant Kathy Lee said.
Town government workers “have been working on finding anything we can do to [lower] taxes and there just isn’t anything there,” Lee said Monday. “Our budgets are down but we are getting less revenue.”
State property tax relief efforts such as the Business Equipment Tax Exemption program give exemptions to companies that buy new equipment in order to encourage business investment. As a result of the exemptions, towns get less property tax revenue and have to offset the losses, Lee said.
“We already know that the mill rate is going up 75 cents next year without us doing anything because of that,” Lee said. “It is a good program but not in a small town.”
An assessor’s error that double-billed Lane Construction about $16,435 also accounts for the increase. Lee said the mill rate increase would probably have occurred last year if not for the error.
Millinocket’s mill rate also increased this year. That town’s leaders agreed to a rate increase of eight-tenths of a mill to 26.4 mills. East Millinocket’s rate stayed the same as last year’s, 23.3 mills, said Clint Linscott, chairman of the East Millinocket Board of Selectmen.
Millinocket’s tax rate increased despite that town’s seeing some economic growth. Tractor Supply Co. opened a store at the shopping plaza off Route 11 in early September.
Medway seeks one property-tax payment annually, Lee said.