BOWDOINHAM — Bowdoinham officials refused to estimate Thursday how their proposed $2.18 million municipal budget, which represents a $205,888 or 10% increase in spending through taxes, will impact the tax rate.

Bowdoinham residents will vote on the budget by secret ballot at the polls on July 14.

Town Manager Tom Woodin said Thursday that releasing projections on the tax rate before the budget is adopted by voters would be “kind of reckless.”

Tony Lewis, chair of the Board of Selectmen, said, “We just don’t have a number to give. There are way too many variables at this point.”

Lewis said the town still doesn’t know what it will get in municipal revenue sharing from the state, the portion of income tax and sales tax the state gives municipalities. It was expected to increase earlier this year before the coronavirus pandemic triggered an economic downturn.

“We’re not going to get nearly what they were going to give us,” Lewis said.

If the school budget or any of the town’s budget articles fail, that would also impact the tax rate because the town wouldn’t have to generate as much revenue, he said.

The town’s portion of taxes to Maine School Administrative District 75 would increase $8,188 if voters adopt the proposed $46 million school budget July 14. For a typical home valued at $180,000 that would increase the tax bill by $5 according to the school district. The taxes Bowdoinham pays to Sagadahoc County are increasing $10,947.

Lewis said voters should know how the municipal budget will impact their taxes, but things need to change to make that possible, he said. Municipalities need to have solid numbers on revenues from the state sooner. The timeline for when towns set the tax rate, usually in August or September, would likely also have to change, he said.

Selectmen voted Tuesday to hold another virtual budget meeting on July 7 at 5:30 p.m., after board member Tom Walling criticized the lack of information available for residents about the budget. Absentee ballots are already available, but the town report hadn’t been issued to residents yet as of Tuesday.

“There isn’t much time left,” Walling said. “I just don’t think we’ve communicated very well with the town about the budget.”

The town has since posted a notification of the July 7 budget meeting on its website. The post includes a copy of the town warrant and a report from Woodin on the proposed municipal budget. The report didn’t list the overall proposed municipal budget amount or the tax rate impact.

Woodin said the town has lowered its estimated municipal revenue sharing from the state due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy.

One of the largest proposed increases in Bowdoinham’s proposed municipal budget is a $44,709 —or 23% spike — in the solid waste and recycling budget due to a large increase in disposal fees. There is an overall $30,026 increase in wages in 2020-21 compared to the current year. Heath benefit costs are dropping $5,000 or 2.9% due to staff enrollment changes, according to Woodin.

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