BATH — Next year’s proposed $16.6 million budget – up about $751,000, or 4.7% from current spending – goes to a City Council vote Wednesday, June 5.

With hikes in non-tax revenues like interest income, revenue sharing and sewer fees offsetting expenditures, the municipal portion of fiscal year 2020 taxes is due to decline 0.42 percent (about $88,000).

That $8.9 million amount, combined with $10.7 million in Regional School Unit 1 taxes (up 1.25 percent) and $1.8 million in Sagadahoc County taxes (up 0.2 percent), produces a total property tax amount for Bath of $21.4 million, an increase of 1.04 percent.

As a result, a home valued at $200,000 would experience an approximately $35 tax increase. Bath, meanwhile, is amid a revaluation; since tax rates are calculated by dividing the tax amount by the new valuation, an increase in town value will result in a reduction in estimated tax rates.

The $11.2 million general fund – the largest portion of Bath’s municipal budget – reflects a 3.1 percent hike, due primarily to increases in salaries, retirement contributions and health insurance. A firefighter/advanced emergency medical technician and an information technology specialist are two new positions, and an additional $25,000 to Patten Free Library will allow it to be open Mondays.

The nearly $943,000 capital fund, up 7.9 percent, covers debt payments on a fire truck and Public Works equipment, along with building studies for Morse High School and the fire and police stations.

The $1.8 million landfill fund has risen 6.1 percent, thanks largely to hikes in recycling costs and capital expenses for gas remediation and immediate covering, and debt payment on a new landfill cell.

A 12 percent increase in the $2.3 million sewer fund largely goes toward the first debt payment on a $9.8 million sewer bond voters approved in 2014.

Bath’s largest non-tax revenue hike comes from state revenue sharing, which the city is budgeting to rise 72.7 percent, to reach $958,000. While the state set aside about 2 percent of its income in fiscal year 2019 for this purpose, Governor Janet Mills’s budget raises that level to 2.5 percent, according to a budget report by city Finance Director Juli Millett.

Were revenue sharing to remain at 2 percent, Bath would have to raise $403,000 in additional taxes, resulting in a 1.91 percent levy increase, she noted.

The June 5 council meeting will be held at City Hall at 6 p.m.

Alex Lear can be reached at 780-9085 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.


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