City budget approved

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The city council last week approved a fiscal year 2018 budget that will mean an increase in the mill rate of no more than 2.7 percent.

The total budget is for $16.18 million, which is roughly $400,000 more than last year. It includes city expenditures of $9.96 million, Penobscot County taxes of $627,134, and an assessment from RSU 34 of $5.59 million.

Total city revenues for the next fiscal year, meanwhile, have been estimated at $6.16 million. That means the net property tax requirement would be just over $10 million – again about $500,000 more than last year.

City Manager Bill Mayo noted that the budget was up by about 6.7 percent before changes were made at the council’s request to bring it in under a 3 percent increase. Getting to that point would require the use of an additional $300,000 in reserve funds – although that number, and what the actual increase in property taxes will be depend upon what lawmakers do in Augusta with the state budget; as the Times was going to press this week, that impasse still had not been resolved.

Mayo, however, said the budget as passed is a worst case scenario; he said it is believed the proposed RSU 34 school subsidy may increase when the state budget is approved, and that RSU 34 has already indicated that any additional funding it receives would be used to lower the tax rate. Additionally, the approved budget assumes the lowest possible amount for municipal revenue sharing that has been on the plate in Augusta; should such funding be increased, that, too would be used to help offset taxes, said Mayo.