LINCOLN, Maine — About $267,000 in anticipated tax-increment financing revenue generated by First Wind’s Rollins Mountain industrial wind site will help the town maintain its property tax rate at 20.12 mills while hiring an additional police officer, Town Manager Lisa Goodwin said Monday.
In budget workshops held so far, the Town Council has opted to forgo the slight tax cut in Goodwin’s proposed 2011-12 municipal budget, which offered a 20.08 mill rate, in favor of keeping to the town’s current 20.12 tax rate for another year. The additional funds will allow town leaders to follow Police Chief William Lawrence’s recommendation to hire what would be the Police Department’s sixth officer, among other tasks, she said.
With a 20.12 mill rate, an owner of a property valued at $100,000 would pay $2,012 in taxes for the fiscal year.
“The important thing in our budget this year is that we are not increasing our debt or debt service,” Goodwin said. “That is huge for us.”
Lawrence told town leaders the additional officer would serve as a uniformed detective, occasionally supplementing regular police patrols but mainly investigating crimes and the connections between crimes the way a detective would. He did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment on Monday.
Construction on the $130 million Rollins site off Route 6 began in early September. The site’s 40 1½-megawatt turbines on Rollins ridgelines in Burlington, Lee, Lincoln and Winn aren’t due to go online until early August, the company has said.
Coupled with some savings, the First Wind tax revenue will help the town accomplish, among other things, the following:
— To buy a new police cruiser, which, with half of its funding paid for already in the 2010-11 budget, will cost $12,500 next year;
— To set aside $20,000 for the eventual purchase of a new firetruck;
— The purchase of a pickup truck with snowplow kit and of a plow truck with plow kit for 166,650;
— The paving of Fleming Street for $50,000 and the upgrade of a traffic light at Main and Depot streets for $8,200;
— To make a final payment on a backhoe which originally cost about $60,000.
The town’s debt, totaling about $1.4 million, will decrease slightly over the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, Goodwin said.
Goodwin’s proposed municipal gross budget, which excludes the TIF expenditures, is $5 million, which represents an increase over this year’s $4.7 million budget, she said.
The RSU 67 board of directors is due to meet this week to complete its proposed $3.88 million budget, followed by a public vote next week.
“Hopefully that won’t change because all of this is subject to the school board not changing,” Goodwin said.
The council’s first public hearing on the municipal budget is June 13 with a final vote occurring a week later.