Tremont budget has mill rate up 2.8%

TREMONT — If the current proposed budget for the town is approved by voters at the annual town meeting in May, residents will see a mill rate increase of 2.8 percent for fiscal year 2020.

The mill rate for the current fiscal year is $10.37. The proposed mil rate for next year is $10.66, which is the amount paid on $1,000 of house value. This means for a house valued at $250,000 the annual tax bill would increase by $72.

The amount collected from property taxes, which Town Manager Chris Saunders is referring to as the blended tax rate, is increasing by 2.4 percent. That increase is the result of the 3.7 percent increase of the Tremont Consolidated School budget, a 1.2 percent decrease in the town’s contribution to the high school budget and the county’s assessment increase of 1.4 percent.

Selectmen received the proposed budget at their meeting on Monday and will meet again on March 11 for a special meeting focused on budget review. After any necessary adjustments are made from the previous budget meetings, a final draft will be presented to selectmen at their March 18 meeting for approval before a warrant is drafted.

Saunders presented the proposed budget and included several items priced at more than $5,000 not factored into the budget that have been discussed by selectmen over the last year. Any adjustments made could change the proposed amount of the budget.

An example of these items is putting boulders and rip rap at the Algerine Coast to cover rebar that is exposed there at a proposed price of $18,000.

“That’s quite a high-traffic area,” said Selectman Jamie Thurlow after Saunders explained where it was located at the Seal Cove picnic area. “Have someone come in and cut the rebar. It will make a difference… I don’t want to see anyone get hurt on it and have us had overlooked it.”

Selectmen Thurlow, Kevin Buck and Mackenzie Jewitt were the only ones present at the meeting. Howdy Goodwin and Mike Mansolilli were absent.

The selectmen voted 3–0 to initially have public works atte mpt to remove as much rebar as possible and then spend up to $2,500 to either fill in or cover the problem areas up.

“As long as we cover it and make it safe,” Thurlow said. “I’m happy with that.”

Other items on the list included transferring funds into a fire truck reserve account, transferring funds into a solar array reserve account to save for the future purchase of the array, money for a town office irrigation system and money for reconstruction of what is now called the wharf house in Bernard. Previous conversations have been focused on removing the current building and constructing a building to be used by the harbor master for equipment maintenance and/or possibly an office.

Thurlow made a motion to have the harbor committee discuss what they would recommend for the space and structure before the select board decides to put funds towards the project. All three selectmen present voted in favor of getting a recommendation from the harbor committee.

Saunders explained any action on the building would likely include demolition. Any rebuild would have to be complete within a year of the demolition.

Selectmen went into executive session at the end of the meeting on Tuesday to discuss proposals for personnel wages. Following that discussion, Sanders increased the public works foreman’s wage by a total of $1/hour, which is 33 cents more than originally proposed.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story contained an error. No votes were taken in executive session.

Sarah Hinckley

Sarah Hinckley

Former Islander reporter Sarah Hinckley covered the towns of Southwest Harbor, Tremont and neighboring islands.

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