There are a number of capital improvement projects in the works for Gray, including sidewalk improvements and repaving in the Gray Village area. Emily Bader / Lakes Region Weekly

Gray Town Manager Nate Rudy’s updated budget proposal is down 1.5% from this year’s spending.

The net municipal budget for 2021-22, which is the amount to be raised from property taxes, is $5.02 million, $73,780 less than the 2020-22 net budget of $5.09 million.

Rudy said in an interview last week that he has not projected a property tax rate, which is determined by the municipal and county and school budgets. The latter two are not yet finalized.

The current tax rate is $14.75 per $1,000 of assessed property valuation. The owner of a $250,000 home in Gray paid $3,687.50 in taxes this year.

Rudy told the Town Council Tuesday night that the budget restructures the Parks and Recreation department to become a part of Buildings and Grounds and that the town is currently searching for a new recreation director.

The 2021-22 budget lists the total general fund expenses at $7.42 million, a 2.7% increase over the 2020-21 expenses, and total capital reserve fund expenses at $1.75 million, a nearly 3% decrease from the current fiscal year. The total expenditures add up to $9,173,533, a $147,635 increase over the 2021-22 total expenditures, or 1.6%.

In terms of revenues, the general fund will see an increase of 6%, for a total of $3.44 million. The capital reserve fund revenues are expected to increase by about 3.6% for a total of $7.05 million.

Rudy said that the town expects its automobile excise tax revenues to increase “substantially” by about $50,000. Gray is also expecting a boost of about $70,000 in state revenue sharing, for a total of $580,000.

Under state law, he said, the state is required to return 5% of its annual revenue to municipalities but has been in violation of that for several years. The governor’s budget, recently passed by the Legislature, raises that provision from 3% to 3.75%.

“Having that money makes it easier for municipalities to provide the services that our communities expect from us without having to pass as much of the cost along to property taxpayers,” Rudy said.

Town Engineer Will Haskell has proposed realigning the intersections of Brown and Hancock streets and Yarmouth Road. The project would require some changes to the area in front of the First Congregational Church of Gray, which is at the corner of the three streets. Emily Bader / Lakes Region Weekly

In other business, Gray has a number of major capital improvements projects already in the works or coming down the pike, including major infrastructure improvements on Yarmouth Road, Main Street and Shaker Road.

“The Yarmouth Road (Route 115) project is a very large project which will run from Main Street to approximately 59 Yarmouth Road,” Council Chairperson Sandy Carder said in an email Wednesday. “It will include reconstruction of the road, adding stormwater, sidewalks, upgrades to the water lines, a possible reconfiguration of the Brown Street intersection and traffic calming measures.”

Town Engineer Will Haskell of South Portland firm Gorrill Palmer wrote in an update that he is proposing the realignment of the intersections of Brown and Hancock streets with Yarmouth Road to be even with each other.

A number of projects with the Department of Transportation are ongoing, including highway improvements on Depot Road and Route 202.

There is another budget workshop next week and councilors will be voting on the final warrant articles April 20.

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