THOMASTON, Maine — Thomaston selectmen gave approval Monday night to a higher municipal budget, but significant new construction will help cushion the tax hike.
The proposed $2,949,427 municipal budget will go to residents at the town meeting Wednesday, June 11, at the American Legion Hall. The proposed budget is up about 4 percent, or $113,212.
Town Manager Valmore Blastow said Friday that if not for the added money the town will likely have to pay Regional School Unit 13, the property tax rate would have dropped again. With an expected $85,000 increase in the town’s share of school costs, the town manager projects the new tax rate will be $16.84, an 11 cent increase from the most recent rate.
If passed, the budget will require a person owning a home worth $150,000 to pay $2,527 in property taxes, representing an additional $16.50 over last year.
Blastow pointed out that the problem is not with RSU 13’s spending but with the failure of the state to honor the will of the people in funding 55 percent of education costs.
The Thomaston rate would have increased more if not for the significant new construction in town. Wal-Mart opened a 150,000-square-foot supercenter in October, and Tractor Supply followed shortly after by also opening a store. Wal-Mart is expected to pay about $168,500 in taxes this year if the projected rate becomes reality.
The municipal budget increase is largely because of added costs for sanitation, workers compensation and health insurance.
The largest accounts in the municipal budget are public works at $460,000, general government at $372,000, police at $312,000, capital projects that include putting money in reserve accounts and paving at $292,000, the transfer station at $234,000, lights and hydrants at $198,000, and the fire department at $106,000.