May 21, 2018
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Veazie residents chop $100,000 off council-recommended budget, elect new councilor

By Nick McCrea, BDN Staff

VEAZIE, Maine — Residents voted to cut more than $100,000 from the town budget during Tuesday night’s annual town meeting, which drew a crowd of about 45 people to Veazie Community School.

A majority of those who attended the town meeting agreed that the town should chop about $19,600 off the $400,300 the Town Council recommended for general government. They also cut about $45,700 from the $414,000 budgeted for fixed-cost items, and $35,200 from the $275,750 allocated toward capital improvements and the reserve account program.

Residents who made motions to cut money out of the budget said they were attempting to keep town spending at a level similar to what it was in the current fiscal year.

The expenses in the proposed budget are about $92,000 higher than the current fiscal year, mostly because the community center needs a new roof and the town will have to pay for the first half of a full revaluation.

Veazie has dedicated $25,000 toward the roof replacement and $45,600 toward the townwide assessment, the first revaluation the town has had since 1981. The council plans to pay for the revaluation in two installments over two fiscal years.

Town Manager Joseph Hayes said Friday that he estimated the mill rate would climb from $19 per $1,000 of property valuation to $20.75. That projection would change slightly with the resident-backed cuts to the budget.

In recent years, Veazie has dipped into existing fund balances to keep the tax rate stable, but that money has dried up. That means any increase in the budget has to either be paid for through a tax increase or cuts to an already slim budget, Hayes said.

Also Tuesday, Veazie residents elected Christopher Bagley to a three-year term on the Town Council. Bagley’s 242 votes beat out the 220 ballots cast in favor of incumbent David King.

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