Bath Councilor David Comeau, left, asks a question about interest rates adopted along with a $16.6 million 2019-20 budget Wednesday. (Darcie Moore / The Times Record)

BATH — The Bath City Council adopted a $16.6 million spending plan for 2019-20 on Wednesday.

There was no debate before the council unanimously adopted the budget.

While the city’s adopted budget comes with an estimated decrease in taxes, school and county assessments are still expected to increase the tax rate in the next fiscal year starting July 1. Factoring in projected assessments from Sagadahoc County ($1.8 million, up 0.2%) and Regional School Unit 1 ($10.7 million, up 1.25%), the city’s total property taxes would be $21.4 million, a 1.04% increase.

A home valued at $200,000 would see a $35 tax increase.

The municipal budget comes with a 4.7% spending increase, or $751,576, over the current budget. On its own, the municipal budget would have brought about a small tax decrease, thanks to increased revenue. 

The largest revenue increase is an additional $403,504 in projected state revenue sharing, a program the state distributes tax revenues to municipalities that is intended to help some communities keep property taxes down. The governor’s proposed budget would give municipalities 2.5% of sales and income tax revenue collected by the state in 2019-20, up from the current 2% that towns and cities get. The state budget hasn’t been finalized yet, however.

Estimated vehicle excise taxes are up $55,000 and interest income is up $100,000.

The budget calls for an additional $334,619 or 3.1% from the general fund. The biggest factor is personnel costs including increases in salaries, health insurance and retirement contributions. The city has to negotiate four new collective bargaining agreements with union employees. It is spending more on minimum wage and the outsourcing of custodial services.

The budget adds an information technology specialist, as well as a full-time firefighter who would also serve as an advanced emergency medical technician.

Spending also includes an additional $25,000 to expand hours at Patten Free Library.

The capital fund expenditures will increase $69,292 or 8%. This increase is driven by debt payments on purchases like a fire truck and public works equipment and building studies to prepare for the closure of Morse High School in 2020.

The landfill fund expenditures are up $105,612 (6.1%) due in part to an increase in recycling costs. The sewer fund is up $247,937 (12%).

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