ROCKLAND, Maine — The City Council unanimously voted Monday night for a resolve that calls for “appropriate meaningful” reductions in the proposed Regional School Unit 13 budget.
The councilors also directed the city manager to send a letter to the school district requesting it come up with lower budget options that can be considered by the public at the districtwide budget meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, May 21, at Oceanside High School East’s auditorium.
The school board approved a $25.9 million budget last week to send to residents on May 21.
The Regional School Unit 13 budget is down 5 percent from its 2014-2015 budget, but with the withdrawal of St. George from the district the remaining communities will have to raise about $2.7 million more, with Rockland’s share at $1.2 million. Other member communities are Thomaston, Cushing, Owls Head and South Thomaston.
In the resolve, sponsored by Councilor Larry Pritchett, the council pointed out that Rockland has one of the highest tax rates in the state and that the continued increases would discourage people from moving here and businesses from investing.
Rockland school board member Esther “Tess” Kilgour, who voted against the school budget, spoke during the public comment session of the council meeting and encouraged the public to attend to try to enact some cuts. She said she realizes the City Council takes the blame for the high taxes in Rockland but that a lot of it is outside the council’s control.
Kilgour was at the meeting with a petition seeking to have Rockland separate from RSU 13. Councilor Valli Geiger signed the petition.