BIDDEFORD — The City Council in Biddeford approved school and municipal spending plans for the 2023 fiscal year that together with revenues calculated in, are about $2 million more than the current year appropriation.

The cost of the budgets together represents an increase of about 3.56 percent  — 65 cents — on the mil rate, which is the cost per $1,000 in property value — though the rate itself is likely to drop due to an expected increase in property values.

City Manager James Bennett told the City Council last week that the rate would be about $18.88, up from $18.23 this year. However, he said, if assessments remained the same, the tax rate will drop significantly, to around $16, once changes are made.

The budgets together total  about $80.1 million — $41.6 million for education and $38.5 million on the municipal side.

With state revenue sharing, Essential Programs and Services funding for the schools, and other revenues figured in, $50.6 million — which includes $24.8 million for the municipality, $23.7 million for the schools, and $1.4 million in county tax — is to be funded by property taxpayers, up from $48.5 million this year.

Biddeford City Council approved municipal and school budgets at their May 19 meeting. Courtesy Image

The budgets were approved by the council on Thursday, May 19.


The school department budget — which was approved by the council with no comment — undergoes a validation vote by residents on June 14.

When it was time to discuss the municipal budget, Councilor Marc Lessard voiced his dismay at receiving information on property values, which he had sought two weeks before, just that evening.

“(The) only right thing to do is table this section of the budget to allow us opportunity to go through it,” Lessard said, adding he doubted there would be enough votes to do so. He said he would like to see where Biddeford stands in comparison with other service center communities in order to come up with a fair value of taxes. He said he would be voting against the municipal budget, which he did.

The council on May 19 made a few adjustments to the municipal budget, including providing for about $125,000 more in bond interest than anticipated when the budget was first presented earlier this year. Interest on bonds recently sold had earlier been expected to carry a 2.8 percent interest rate, but came in at 3.8 percent, instead.

Inflation resulting in higher costs for gas, diesel, and biosolids disposal from the wastewater treatment plant, costs associated with attracting and retaining employees, increases in loan payments for purchases and bonds, and more have contributed to the higher municipal budget, city officials have said.

Key cost drivers of the school budget include staffing costs, health insurance increases, utility cost increases, and the like.


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