Town budget calls for modest tax hike

MOUNT DESERT Property taxes here will go up 28 cents to $7.95 per $1,000 of valuation – an increase of 3.25 percent – if voters at the May 7 town meeting approve the 2019-2020 town budget that the Board of Selectmen adopted Monday night.

The estimated valuation of taxable property is $2.08 billion.

The municipal operations budget for next year of just over $10.2 million is $557,704 higher than the current year’s budget, an increase of 5.56 percent.

In addition, property owners will pay $4 million in taxes for Mount Desert Elementary School, $2.9 million for Mount Desert Island High School and a Hancock County tax of $947,341.

All of that will bring the total town budget for next year to $18.1 million, of which taxpayers will be responsible for $16.4 million. That is an increase of 3.11 percent.

By far, the largest single factor contributing to the higher municipal budget is a $438,582 increase in debt service, which will total $1.88 million. Kathi Mahar, the town’s treasurer, said about 99 percent of the debt service increase is due to three bond issues that were approved at the 2018 town meeting. Voters authorized borrowing up to $3.96 million for the Main Street improvement project in Northeast Harbor, $645,000 to correct serious drainage problems in the Sylvan Road and Tennis Club Road neighborhoods in Northeast Harbor, and $500,000 for Mount Desert’s half of the cost of rebuilding a one-mile section of Route 198. The town is sharing the cost with the state.

The 2019-2020 town budget that the selectmen adopted Monday calls for spending $1.75 million on road paving and maintenance, an increase of $36,764. The combined costs for municipal administration, finance management, tax assessment, code enforcement and technology will go up $36,620 to $1.45 million. Police and public safety communications costs will increase $14,145 to $1.2 million.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated the proposed new tax rate. Taxes will increase to $7.95 per $1,000 of valuation, not per $100,000 of valuation. The Islander apologizes for the error.

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]

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