The Biddeford Budget Committee has started reviewing a proposed $25.7 million municipal budget that could require a tax increase because of revenue losses.

The preliminary budget is about $7,300 more than the current budget, but an increase of 2.4 percent in the tax rate would be required because the city lost about $300,000 in state revenue sharing, according to city officials.

The budget committee, comprised of the entire city council, began reviewing the budget proposal Monday. Councilors will continue their review in a series of workshops through much of April. A public hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. May 5 in the Biddeford High School Little Theater.

City Manager John Bubier said the municipal budget proposal presented to the budget committee was reduced by $8.9 million from the amount requested by city departments. The proposed budget would not result in any cuts to services, though two positions would be eliminated in the Public Works Department. Finance Director Curt Koehler said layoffs may be avoided because two employees are of retirement age.

Koehler said a proposed $34.3 million education budget would require a .55 percent increase on the tax rate if approved without changes. The budget, which has not yet been approved by the School Committee, is about 3 percent higher than the budget for the current fiscal year.

Koehler said he is not able to estimate the impact of tax rate increases because the city is in the middle of a revaluation of property assessments. That process is expected to be completed by late summer.

Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:

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