It’s budget season, which means that towns in the Lakes Region are working to develop municipal and school budgets for next year. Here’s an update:

Bridgton

While the town budget has not yet been finalized, Town Manager Robert Peabody said the Selectboard has come to a consensus on it. Until the warrant articles are approved in April, changes could still be made, but Peabody said he is not anticipating any.

The town will decrease gross spending by 0.51 percent to $7.2 million but because revenues are also expected to decrease, by 2.73 percent to $2.7 million, net spending will increase slightly, by 0.88 percent to $4.4 million.

Peabody said the slight increase will have a negligible effect on the tax rate, which is currently $14.80 per $1,000 of taxable assessed value.

“My department heads did a great job in putting their budgets together, and we’re able to deliver the services, and our taxpayers aren’t paying any major increase,” he said.

The budget will be finalized when residents vote on it at the annual town meeting on June 12.

Casco

Town Manager Dave Morton said the Selectboard has had two sessions with the Finance Committee and is working on developing the budget.

The proposed capital budget stands at $1.2 million, nearly triple last year’s budget.

The proposed operating budget is $3.9 million, which is an increase of $447,000, or 11 percent, over this year.

“There are some big increases in public safety. We’re having to increase our paid coverage, make some building improvements,” Morton said. The town also needs a new boiler in the fire station and has other “building maintenance kinds of issues.”

If the proposed budget is not revised, Morton said there would be an approximately 50-cent, or about 3 percent, increase in the tax rate, which is currently $15.40 per $1,000 of taxable assessed value.

He anticipates that the budget will be finalized in mid-April. Residents will vote on the budget at the annual town meeting on June 12.

Raymond

The town manager’s proposed budget is $4.7 million, an increase of 7.6 percent over this year’s budget. That would lead to a 2.2 percent, 28-cent, increase in the tax rate, which is currently $12.60 per $1,000 of taxable assessed value.

However, Finance Director Cathy Ricker said “there’s going to be changes to” the budget.

The Selectboard and the Budget-Finance Committee held a joint workshop March 26, and the Selectboard will review and approve warrant articles on April 23. On April 30, the Budget Finance Committee will vote on the articles, and residents will vote on the municipal budget at the annual town meeting on June 4.

Standish

The town manager’s proposed budget estimates total municipal spending of $10 million, an increase of $330,927, or 3.2 percent, over this year’s budget.

In a letter to the community on the town website, Town Manager Bill Giroux wrote, “These numbers reflect the reality of rising costs due to growth and other reasons that need to be addressed to meet the service demands of our residents.”

If the proposed budget becomes the final budget, it will cause a 3.2 percent, or 45-cent, increase in the tax rate, from $13.90 per $1,000 of taxable assessed value to $14.35.

However, Giroux said “we know for a fact (the council is) going to make some changes (to the budget) because they’ve already suggested some things.”

Giroux said he anticipates the council will have a finalized budget by May, and residents will vote on it at the annual town meeting on June 15. All capital expenditures will be voted on via referendum on June 11.

Windham

The town manager’s proposed budget is $45.2 million, $21 million of which is Windham’s portion of the RSU 14 budget.

This year’s budget is different from previous years in many ways, said interim Town Manager Don Gerrish. For instance, it includes the school budget and moves some payments to the Police Operating Account.

“There are things in the budget that we think should be there that weren’t there last year. Comparing last year’s to this year’s is really difficult,” Gerrish said.

Last year’s municipal budget was $18.5 million.

Increases this year include an additional police officer, two additional firefighters/EMTs and increasing a part-time position in the town clerk’s office from 24 to 40 hours.

Gerrish estimates that there will be an approximately 2.5 percent, or 38-cent, increase in the tax rate, which is currently $15.18 per $1,000 of taxable assessed value.

“We have to pay debt service for a new public works facility and increase operational costs for facilities. Our employee benefits are up. It starts to add up,” he said.

Jane Vaughan can be reached at 780-9103 or at [email protected]


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