Budget may mean 4.5% property tax increase

BAR HARBOR — The Town Council here tentatively approved the fiscal year 2019 budget on Jan. 25, which would require an estimated 4.5 percent bump in the property tax rate. The council’s public budget hearing is scheduled for Feb. 20, after which the Warrant Committee will begin its review.

A memo from Town Manager Cornell Knight shows that a home with the town’s median value of $300,300 would see a $12.31 monthly increase or $148 over the year in property tax.

Knight said Capital Improvement Program (CIP) funding is up because of the first bond payments on three bonds. The largest of the three is a $332,000 payment on the transfer station bond. Total CIP funding is up 15 percent for that bond and bonds for a ladder truck and floor repairs at the Fire Department.

Further, a new employee for the Fire Department is being proposed. Knight said that volunteer firefighter numbers are dropping, and this employee would help fill the gaps. The Fire Department budget is estimated to rise 3.9 percent — or about $34,000 — from the fiscal year 2018 budget.

Funding for the Jesup Memorial Library could double from $75,000 to $150,000. In December 2016, library officials asked for an annual appropriation of $75,000 for fiscal year 2018 and $150,000 for 2019.

Hancock County assessments for the town have increased 5.7 percent. The town’s assessment of Mount Desert Island High School also has been estimated to jump 4.3 percent.

Knight said there is a wage increase of 2 percent and a 1 percent bonus proposed to offset the increased cost to employees of a new health plan.

Voters will consider bond requests at town meeting totaling approximately $10 million in new debt.

This proposed budget will be delivered to the Warrant Committee following any changes made by councilors after the public hearing.

Samuel Shepherd

Samuel Shepherd

Samuel Shepherd is a University of Maine graduate and a former Bar Harbor reporter for the Mount Desert Islander.
Samuel Shepherd

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