The Kennebunk Select Board voted to set the property tax, or mil rate, at $14.25 per $1,000 of assessed property, up 10 cents from last year. Dan King photo

KENNEBUNK – Property taxpayers will have to ante-up a tad more cash this year, with an increase in the mil rate of 10 cents, to $14.25 per $1,000 worth of assessed value.

That, according to Kennebunk Tax Assessor Dan Robinson, means someone with a home valued at $400,000 will be billed $40 more in taxes this year than last. If a home is valued at $200,000, the tax will go up by $20.

The $14.25 rate was approved by the select board on Aug. 24. Payments will be due Oct. 8 and April 8, the board decided.

In an email last week, Robinson said the assessing office performed no market-based adjustments for the year.

“(We) will continue to monitor the market for changes going forward,” said Robinson, noting the department will have to determine if the current surge in values is sustainable.

The $14.25 figure leaves an overlay of slightly more than $1 million – about 2.7 percent of the $40.5 million tax commitment, he said.

As board members contemplated the rate, one member of the public inquired about increases in the amount of money the schools receive from the state after the Legislature approved 55 percent funding.

Finance Director Joel Downs said Kennebunk’s share of the amount allocated to RSU 21 had been at $1.7 million but was increased to $3.3 million. However, the changes came after the RSU 21 district vote and validation vote process, and, Downs said, will be destined for the RSU’s general fund and future budgets. Downs said that money assigned to Kennebunk remains with Kennebunk and was to seek a meeting with school officials to discuss the matter.

Downs also said Kennebunk has received more in revenue sharing than projected – $700,000 more, which he said meant the mil rate is lower by about 20 cents because of the unexpected windfall.

He noted the Legislature says revenue sharing will be at 5 percent next year but pointed out it had been reduced by the state in the past.

He said there will also be an increase in debt in future years.

Downs said Kennebunk’s net new growth is valued at $27 million and said some projects did not fully come online due to supply or labor shortages.

When asked how tax payments came in during the pandemic, Downs said they were better than in prior years. Usually at this time of year, 96 to 97 percent of balances due have been collected, he said. This year, 98.9 percent has been collected. As of the Aug. 24 select board meeting, just $164,000 of a $40 million tax commitment remained outstanding, he said.

“Typically, there are 100 or 200 tax liens, last year there were 69, this year there were just 47 recorded; it’s amazing,” said Downs.

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