The Brewer City Hall sign is seen in front of the building in this photo taken July 7, 2018. Credit: Wendy Watkins / BDN

Brewer expects to make a handful of improvements to city parks in the coming year, but mostly keep its spending in line with the previous year.

The Brewer City Council passed its annual budget at a council meeting last week, on June 8. The spending plan takes effect July 1.

The city’s tax rate won’t change when the new budget takes effect, said Karen Fussell, Brewer’s finance director, who described the upcoming budget as a “status-quo budget.” The property tax rate will remain at $22.75 for every $1,000 of property value.

Among the improvements at city parks are the replacement of the primary playground structure at the Joseph L. Ferris Community Center, work on the park at the Capri Street School, and the replacement of the city’s tennis courts, Fussell said.

Brewer will receive some federal funding through the American Rescue Plan Act, but Fussell said that the council hadn’t included it in its annual budget because specific numbers were not yet available. She estimated that Brewer would receive between $900,000 and $950,000.

The municipal budget for the coming fiscal year will be $14.9 million, a 5.4 percent increase from the current budget of $14.2 million.

The Brewer School Department’s budget will rise 2.3 percent, to $24.5 million from $24 million for the school year ending this month. As with the city’s budget, the school budget doesn’t include much in the way of new initiatives, said Superintendent Gregg Palmer.

In addition to making some increases to staff salaries, the school department plans to open a tutoring center at the high school and hire new elementary school special education technicians to support students who are new to the school system.

The focus is on maintaining the current budget despite signs that the economy is “bouncing back” after the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered schools and businesses, Palmer said.

“We tried not to overestimate a situation where we add a bunch of stuff in and then have to cut a bunch of stuff just to stay consistent,” Palmer said. “Even if the economy turns a little bit south after this initial surge, we want to make sure that we can support everything.”

Lia Russell

Lia Russell is a reporter on the city desk for the Bangor Daily News. Send tips to LRussell@bangordailynews.com.