The Old Orchard Beach Town Council has approved an $18.8 million town budget, and residents will weigh in on a proposed $15 million school budget at a townwide referendum next week.

The municipal budget breaks down to about a $17.1 million municipal operating budget and a $1.7 million capital improvement budget. This is an increase of about $700,000 over the current fiscal year’s budget.

The town budget includes using $500,000 from the undesignated fund and $500,000 from the ambulance billing fund to help offset taxes.

Tuesday’s vote was the final vote for the municipal budget, but the school budget needs one more vote by the public at a townwide referendum next Tuesday.

The combined town budget and school budget, as currently proposed, would increase the current $15.30 tax rate by about 50 cents, given town valuation estimates, said Town Finance Director Diana Asanza. A 50-cent tax rate increase would equate to about a $100 annual property tax increase on a $200,000 home.

The $15 million Regional School Unit 23 proposal was approved by residents at a town-meeting style vote last month and is $210,000 more than the budget proposal previously approved by the school board. The 65 residents at the May meeting voted to add the extra funding for more special education staff.

The $15 million school budget proposal is 6.6 percent higher than the current year’s school budget, according to information from the RSU 23 website. Previously, taxpayers had given feedback that they wanted the increase to be no more than 4.5 percent, according to RSU 23 officials.

The original school board budget proposal, which is $210,000 less than the one to be voted on Tuesday, when combined with the town budget, increases the mil rate by about 38 cents, according to Asanza. A 38-cent mil rate increase would equate to a $76 annual property tax increase on a $200,000 home.

Polls are open Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Old Orchard Beach High School. Should residents not approve the proposed budget next week, a new school budget proposal will once again go through the three-step budget approval process.

— Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be reached at 780-9015 or by email at [email protected]