Budget hike is trimmed

BAR HARBOR — A public hearing on the proposed municipal budget for fiscal year 2017 is set for Tuesday, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m. At last week’s Town Council meeting, Chairman Paul Paradis used the councilor comment time to urge residents to attend and offer feedback.

“The hearing is your opportunity to be heard before the budget goes to the warrant committee,” he said.

The expected tax increase is down from Town Manager Cornell Knight’s original proposal to 2.6 percent. That would require a projected mill rate of 10.87. That means the annual tax bill on a median-value home worth $296,800 would go up $82 from $3,144 to $3,226, according to budget documents.

The council made some adjustments to the budget in a series of special meetings in late January. A Capital Improvement Program (CIP) line item for replacement of one of the ambulance defibrillators was reduced by $10,000 after Fire Chief Matt Bartlett received lower quotes for the purchase.

In a split vote, the council also reduced the funding designated for the engineering study of a municipal broadband network to $50,000 from $100,000, planning to spread the cost over two years.

Other adjustments came from outside the town offices. The town’s county assessment will be $2,782 less than estimated. The elementary school budget is down $87,477 in heating oil contract savings and other reductions.

The budget increase would drop further, to 2.3 percent or a 10.84 mill rate, if the high school board approves a downward adjustment in that budget (see related story), Knight said this week.

“The council appreciates that it was a team effort” to get the budget to this point, Paradis said. “I want to thank staff and council for their work.”

The budget as tentatively adopted Feb. 2 is available for download on the town’s website, in sections or as a whole document.

Liz Graves

Liz Graves

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander reporter and editor Liz Graves grew up in California and came to Maine as a schooner sailor.

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