East Millinocket expects more budget cuts before second town meeting, referendum vote

School Superintendent Quenten Clark [with microphone] answers a question from Budget Committee member Cathy King during East Millinocket's annual town meeting on Tuesday, June 3, 2014.
Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN
School Superintendent Quenten Clark [with microphone] answers a question from Budget Committee member Cathy King during East Millinocket's annual town meeting on Tuesday, June 3, 2014. Buy Photo
Posted July 25, 2014, at 4:16 p.m.

EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine — School leaders may cut another $40,000 in costs as part of efforts to prepare for the town’s second attempt to pass a school budget beginning Aug. 5, officials said Friday.

The East Millinocket School Committee already has cut about $152,000 from its approximately $4.1 million budget. It likely will make more cuts before the town meeting and the townwide school budget referendum, Superintendent Quenten Clark said.

A town meeting on the school budget is set for Aug. 5, and a budget validation vote is set for Aug. 7, town administrative assistant Shirley Tapley said.

“It is important that we get the thing done and move forward here,” Clark said Friday. “We have been stuck here for a little while mostly because of things we didn’t know were coming.”

The $40,000 in cuts will be across several line items in small numbers, Clark said.

The Board of Selectmen is also reviewing its $2.2 million town budget, despite voters approving it in a June 3 referendum in search of additional cuts, Tapley said.

The goal is to reduce, as much as possible, the property tax rate likely to be generated by the town and school budgets. The mill rate is set in the late fall, and early estimates compute the town’s mill rate will increase from $21.93 per thousand of valuation to about $27, even if Great Northern Paper Co. LLC pays its overdue property taxes. That increase means owners of $50,000 properties would pay $1,350 in property taxes this year instead of $1,096.

If GNP, the town’s largest single taxpayer, doesn’t pay, the mill rate will rise to $37 per thousand of valuation, according to predictions made by the town’s assessor, Tapley said. Some selectmen believe the rate could go as high as $38 per thousand.

By comparison, the statewide average adjusted property tax rate was $13.99 in 2012, the latest year statewide figures are available.

As of Friday, GNP’s $657,900 real estate and personal property tax bills accumulated $24,603 in interest, according to figures provided by Tax Collector Erica Ingalls.

The $361,845 real estate tax bill accumulates $69.39 in interest daily. The $296,055 personal property tax debt collects $56.78 in personal property taxes, Ingalls said.

 

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