Budget up 4 percent in Bar Harbor



BAR HARBOR — Town Manager Cornell Knight’s proposed draft budget for fiscal year 2017 includes an estimated four percent increase in the tax rate. That means the annual tax bill on a median valued home worth $295,300 would go up $126 from of $3,154 to $3,280, according to budget documents. FY17 runs from July of 2016 through June 2017.

Town operating and capital expenses increase 3.3 percent this year, according to Knight’s budget memo, including a $61,892 jump in state-mandated fire hydrant rental costs and $100,000 for a broadband Internet engineering study. Increased funding for the HUB downtown development group, a request that was presented to council in the fall, is not included in the manager’s budget.

Also requested, in a presentation by Planning Board member Basil Eleftheriou, was $25,000 towards a Cottage Street development plan. Those funds are not in the manager’s budget. The Cruise Ship Committee has suggested that cruise ship funds be used for the study, Knight said. The cruise ship fund is up 9.8 percent, but there are restrictions on the use of those funds.

He estimates the town’s assessment for the Hancock County budget will increase 3.1 percent.

Total school expenses for the town, including the Bar Harbor School Department, AOS and high school, are expected to rise 4.5 percent. The local school and AOS budgets have been voted on by the School Board, he said, but the high school budget is an estimate.

The town’s revenues are projected to rise slightly, 1.1 percent. Revenue from the collection of building permit fees is down slightly, but harbor fee, excise tax and ambulance billing revenues all are up slightly. No changes in fees were proposed except for a small increase for ambulance services.

Councilors are reviewing the proposed budget. The Warrant Committee is set to begin its weekly meetings Feb. 8, working through the budget and other warrant articles. The council and Warrant Committee are slated to meet together Tuesday, March 22.

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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