May 27, 2018
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Bangor council, residents to vote on adjusted school budget; tax rate will not change

By Nick McCrea, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Thanks to a delay in state funding, Bangor voters will consider an adjusted school budget at the polls on Nov. 5.

The city council will vote on the adjusted school budget during a special meeting at 5 p.m. Monday.

Residents approved a nearly $42 million school budget during the June 18 election by a margin of 1,773 votes in favor versus 406 against. However, that vote came before the state had settled on its biennial budget, and the city still had to hold a referendum and approve a budget based on what was then existing law.

The state budget passed about $645,000 in new costs on to the Bangor School Department, primarily in retirement costs that local school districts are now expected to cover. The state budget also gave additional revenue to the district that basically offsets those costs, according to Alan Kochis, director of business services for the district.

Despite the fact that the school budget residents will be looking at in November is $42.62 million, compared to the $41.98 million budget they passed in June, the tax rate will remain the same because of the increase in revenue from the state, according to the city.

If voters reject the adjusted school budget in November, it will mean the school department will have to cut $645,000 from its operations in order to match the budget amount that passed in June, according to Kochis. The latest budget approved by voters will be adopted.

While the state’s budget decisions weren’t made in time for the school budget vote, the city council did have time to adopt an overall city budget that factored in the changes to the school department.

After Monday’s special council meeting, the city’s Infrastructure Committee will discuss a series of natural gas easements and road resurfacing projects including Main, Union, Ohio and other streets. The Finance Committee will discuss city vehicle fleet maintenance projects, whether Bangor police should request to purchase a K-9 vehicle through a state contract, and will review Bangor International Airport’s request to waive a bid process for a closed-circuit television security system.

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