Town budget stays flat

TREMONT — Voters at the May 10 open town meeting will consider a $1.86 million municipal budget that contains a modest increase from that of the current fiscal year.

The $1.86 million budget is up $11,500, or .6 percent. As a result, there would be no property tax increase needed for the municipal side of the total 2016-2017 budget for the town.

Retirement of debt service is a major factor in the budget remaining flat, said Town Manager Dana Reed. Bond issues for construction of the town office and a public works truck have been paid off. The $159,116 budgeted for debt service reflects a $151,238 decrease.

There is this year a major jump in the money being set aside in reserve accounts. The $71,000 proposed is about $66,000 above that for the current year. Two reserve accounts – $27,500 for a public works truck and $38,000 for town equipment – make up almost all that amount. No money was budgeted for those reserve accounts this year, and the change is viewed by town officials as a way to be more proactive about planning for future major purchases, Reed said.

The other significant increase is in the public works budget, where the $526,000 proposed is about $50,900 more than for this year. Despite a $74,000 reduction in the budget line for equipment, public works salaries increased nearly $39,000, and the $236,000 line for summer road repairs is $98,500 higher.

The $559,000 proposed budget for administration, which includes town office expenses and salaries, is almost $2,000 more than for this year. Protection, which includes the fire department, the contract with the sheriff’s department, the ambulance service and dispatching, has been budgeted at $233,000, an increase of $5,200.

Seven community service agencies have requested funding from town meeting voters. The $12,300 total includes from a high of $3,000 each for Island Explorer bus service and the Campfire Coalition to a low of $600 for Hospice of Hancock County.

The total town budget includes the proposed budget for the Tremont Consolidated School and the town’s assessment for its share of the Mount Desert Island High School and Hancock County budgets. The $2.37 million budget for the Tremont school is $35,500 more than for this year. The $1.04 million high school assessment reflects an increase of nearly $10,500. The $214,000 county assessment is $4,600 higher.

According to Reed’s calculations, the overall effect on property taxes if the budgets pass as proposed will be 8 cents for each $1,000 in valuation. The owner of a $250,000 property will pay an extra $20.

Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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