The Portland City Council unanimously approved a plan to spend an additional $6.2 million in state school funding Monday night that will avoid a property tax increase.
The measure allows the city to eliminate what would have been a roughly 1 percent increase on property tax for next year, the Portland Press Herald reported.
State officials argued that instead of going to state school funding, the money should primarily be used for tax relief for city residents, many of whom have seen increased property taxes following a citywide revaluation.
“At the very least, a majority of the $6.2 million should be used to assist Portland taxpayers during a unique and exceedingly difficult time,” Rep. Michael Brennan, D-Portland, wrote in a letter to the City Council last week, according to the newspaper.
But school officials said the plan will help mitigate future tax increases, though it isn’t the immediate tax relief for which lawmakers were pushing.
The plan calls for $1.49 million to be used to offset the costs of a combined city and school tax increase, $1.3 million to pay for custodians who are receiving federal pandemic relief funds and $3.41 million to mitigate costs of renovations at local elementary schools.