BIDDEFORD — City Councilors will consider the latest version of the combined municipal and school budget during a first reading tonight. 

The latest version includes a $31.7 million education budget, which received preliminary approval Monday night, and a $23.8 million municipal budget for the fiscal year starting July 1.

The school budget calls for the elimination of 23 positions, including the Latin teacher at the high school, a number of ed techs and library clerks, said Superintendent Sarah-Jane Poli.

“It’s not just teachers,” Poli said, but “it will have an impact. Every position has an impact on the students.”

The municipal budget includes the elimination of two police officers through retirement and three and a half city clerical positions, Finance Director Curt Koehler said.

As the budget stands, Koehler said taxpayers will see a 5 percent increase on their tax bill in the coming year. This translates into an additional $147 for a home valued at $200,000, he said.

In March, City Manager John Bubier originally presented a budget that sought an 8.8 percent tax rate increase.

Councilors, concerned about the impact on taxpayers, considered slashing an additional 10 positions from public safety and the public works departments. Additional revenue and using more than $1 million from the city’s undesignated fund has been key in reducing the tax impact, Bubier said. The city had nearly $3.7 million in the undesignated fund last June, Koehler said. 

Bubier said councilors still have to decide if they want to reinstate the $80,000 paid to the school department for transportation of St. James School students.

Without the funds, Koehler said, “the school department could still transport (St. James students) if they wanted. They would not get any money from the city for it.”

Koehler said the state used to reimburse municipalities for private school transportation, but stopped that program years ago. Should the council reinstate it, he said, the city would need to use more of the undesignated funds.

Poli said the school board has not discussed whether transportation would be provided should councilors not reinstate the funds.

The council meets at 7 tonight in the auditorium of Biddeford Middle School. It will meet for a second reading and voter at 7 p.m. Monday, June 6.

Residents will be asked to approve the school budget in a referendum on Thursday, June 9.