Topsham taxes still likely to rise despite smaller town budget

Posted April 09, 2014, at 12:46 p.m.

TOPSHAM, Maine — If the fiscal 2015 municipal budget is approved at Topsham’s annual town meeting next month, it could decline about $18,000 — to $8.56 million.

But with assessments to School Administrative District 75 (up 9.16 percent as proposed) and Sagadahoc County (up 3.14 percent) included, and revenues and reimbursements subtracted, Topsham’s total tax commitment could increase nearly $854,000 — to $16.2 million.

That would result in a tax rate hike of 4.54 percent — to $17.41 per $1,000 of property valuation.

Of the tax commitment, 53 percent would go toward school expenses, 38 percent the town and 9 percent to the county, according to information provided by the town.

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Town Manager Rich Roedner said last week that the assessing line item is down 39 percent, to about $100,000, due to the elimination of a vacant position.

Planning is down 7 percent, to about $221,000, because the town does not plan to fill a vacant planning director position until September. With Roedner, the former town planner, recently named town manager, assistant planner Rod Melanson has been filling the gap in the Planning Department.

“We are somewhat fortunate in that at this point, we’ve got a town manager who is earning less than the previous town manager, we’ll have a planning director who will be earning less than the previous town planner, and come July, we’ll have a town clerk who’s earning less than the previous town clerk,” Roedner said, referring to retiring Town Clerk Ruth Lyons.

Public utilities are up 12 percent, to about $330,000, due to increases in water, electricity and sewer costs.

On Thursday, the Board of Selectmen is expected to approve the budget for the May 14 town meeting, where residents will make the final decision.

 

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