MILFORD, Maine — During an emergency meeting Tuesday afternoon, the Board of Selectmen approved and signed a warrant for the annual town meeting, which usually takes place in June.
The meeting now is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17, at Dr. Lewis S. Libby School, where voters will consider 45 warrant articles.
While the town’s June elections went on as planned, selectmen in May voted to postpone the town meeting — during which voters approve the annual operating budget — until after the new fiscal year began on July 1.
The reason for the decision to delay the meeting was uncertainty over how the town would fare under Gov. Paul LePage’s biennial budget plan, which among other things called for the suspension of the state revenue sharing program and major limits on the homestead exemption and circuit breaker property tax relief programs.
Also figuring into selectmen’s concerns was the loss of $6.5 million in formerly taxable property valuation from the Milford Dam, which was the subject of a property tax appeal that former owner PPL Maine won against Milford and city of Old Town.
To that end, voters on Election Day granted selectmen’s request for permission to spend up to three months of budget money so the town could continue to operate beyond the end of the fiscal year.
Town Manager Dawn Adams said Tuesday that Milford selectmen have developed a roughly $3.2 million spending plan for this fiscal year, which began on July 1.
The proposed budget maintains basic town services and includes the town’s share of the $2.2 million water and sewer system project now underway in the Davenport Street area, Adams said. The bulk of that work is being funded by a $1.6 million loan from USDA Rural Development, she said.
Meanwhile, school officials have developed a $4.6 million budget for this year, Adams said.
If voters approve the warrant articles as is, property owners can expect to see a small increase in their property tax bills, Adams said.
“Taxes are going up but not nearly as much as we feared they would,” Adams said.
She said the town’s property tax rate is projected to increase to $17.20 per $1,000 in property tax valuation from last year’s $17 per $1,000.