TREMONT — Voters at the town meeting Tuesday, May 8, will consider a budget that would mean a 6 percent increase in property taxes if approved. The taxes on a $250,000 home would go up by $133 a year.
The meeting will take place at the town office’s Harvey Kelley Meeting Room starting at 6:30 p.m. Elections are Monday, May 7, from 1-8 p.m. in the same location as the open meeting.
Town Manager Christopher Saunders said budget amendments will be offered on the floor of the meeting to reflect lower-than-expected health insurance costs for school staff.
The proposed municipal budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year is 2 percent high higher than for the current fiscal year, which Saunders said is proportional to the rise in the Consumer Price Index and the cost of living adjustment for residents on Social Security.
Administrative costs have been budgeted at $657,835, up by $51,835. The code enforcement officer’s hours were doubled and his hourly rate was increased, yielding $16,390 in compensation.
Costs also include a one-time $13,000 expense to replace the water systems in the town office, which Saunders said may cause a plumbing failure if unaddressed next year.
Protections, proposed at $249,267, have increased by $10,026. This category encompasses funding for the Tremont Volunteer Fire Department, emergency dispatching, law enforcement, the Southwest Harbor-Tremont Ambulance Service and animal control.
The $383,802 budget for public works is down by $142,023, almost a third. It includes $74,848 for a third full-time public works employee, allowing for insurance and retirement contributions. The town’s outside contract for mowing services was removed to accommodate the change. Also, $63, 371 were allocated for the Road Improvement Program.
The budget includes $14,711 to fund requests from eight nonprofit organizations. Allocations range from $800 to the Hospice Volunteers of Hancock County to $3,000 each for the Island Explorer bus and the MDI Campfire Coalition.
The total proposed budget for Tremont Consolidated School is $3.07 million, an increase of approximately 10.3 percent.
This includes $150,000 that the Board of Selectmen approved for work on the school’s septic system.
Other major increases are $49,827 for hiring two special education ed techs, as required by state and federal law; $39,623 for the predicted increase in health insurance costs for teachers; and $14,387 for curriculum and technology improvements.
Four ordinances are on the open town meeting warrant, including the repeal of a 1988 wastewater disposal ordinance and the enactment of a new holding tank ordinance, taken from a state-recommended template, which would require the town to allow holding tanks for first-time wastewater systems.
Amendments to the subdivision ordinance and the zoning ordinance, mostly related to changes in the state laws, are also to be considered.
Also on the warrant is an article that gives the Board of Selectmen authority to sell or convey any real estate acquired by the town under expired tax lien mortgages as they see fit.
Additionally, voters will consider whether the town can borrow $300,000 for the purchase of a new fire engine, an approximately 2,000-gallon 4WD International.
The total town budget includes appropriations for Hancock County and Mount Desert Island High School. Tremont’s share of the high school costs went up by 1.4 percent, and the county assessment decreased by 1.1 percent.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said $63,656 were allocated for the Road Improvement Plan to pave 1000 feet of Dodge Point Road. The correct amount is $63,371 and according to Town Manager Christopher Saunders, the town will be conducting an engineering survey to determine which roads need to be reconstructed and when.