TREMONT — The town and school budgets approved by selectmen here last Monday translate into a 6 percent increase in property taxes. That’s an increase of $133 per year on a home valued at $250,000. The town’s mill rate would nudge up from 9.9 to 10.43.
It’s a smaller increase than Town Manager Christopher Saunders’ March 5 proposal, mostly because both the local school and high school budgets have been trimmed down. Tremont’s assessment for Mount Desert Island High School is down from a 6.5 increase over last year to a 1.4 percent increase, Saunders said.
Selectmen and the school board settled on a compromise: $150,000 was approved for needed work on the Tremont Consolidated School’s septic system, but other building-related projects were not funded.
“We’ve been handed a big challenge this year” with the need for work on the septic system, Principal Jandrea True said. It had the effect of crowding out other budget priorities. But “the school is going to continue to run and function beautifully,” she said.
The school board hopes that the septic project will cost less than the budgeted amount and that remaining funds can be used for other building needs, such as repairing fences.
“I know it hasn’t been easy,” said Kevin Buck, chair of the Board of Selectmen, to school officials.
The new version of the budget also includes funds for a new full-time public works employee, to be paid $33,384. The total cost for the year for the new employee, including insurance and retirement contributions, is $74,848. Selectmen opted to add this position and remove the outside contract the town has held for mowing services.
Selectmen extended the 180-day moratorium on cruise ship activity in the town following a public hearing at their meeting Monday. No one spoke at the hearing on the issue.
The moratorium had been set to expire May 6 and now continues until Nov. 6, at which time town officials plan to have a new cruise ship ordinance on the ballot.
Approved for the May town meeting warrant were amendments to the zoning ordinance and subdivision ordinance and a new holding tank ordinance.
Changes to the zoning ordinance are minor and mostly related to changes in state law, Saunders said. Some permit fees are being adjusted. Under the proposal, a $15 administrative fee currently required for any application submitted for review no longer would be charged. Residential building permit fees would increase to 15 cents per square foot for residential projects and 25 cents per square foot for commercial buildings, with a minimum of $25. Demolition permits ($25) and pier or dock permits ($1 per lineal foot) are proposed to be added.
The Planning Board will hold a final public hearing on the proposed zoning changes April 24.
Amendments to the subdivision ordinance follow addition of new criteria from the state for approving a subdivision.
The proposed new ordinance, taken from a template recommended by the state, is required for the town to allow holding tanks for first-time wastewater systems, Code Enforcement Officer John Larson said.