City Administrator John Bohenko and outgoing Director of Budget and Fiscal Analysis Glenys Salas present the proposed FY 2025 budget to City Council. Eloise Goldsmith photo

SACO – City Administrator John Bohenko had good news to share with Saco taxpayers: Under his proposed budget for fiscal year 2025, which begins on July 1, property taxes are set to decrease for the vast majority of residents.

The proposal, which he and outgoing Director of Budget and Fiscal Analysis Glenys Salas presented to City Council at their last meeting, outlines a $1.1 million increase in total expenditures (city, school, and estimated county expenses combined), for a total of $73.29 million. Total municipal expenses would be $40.3 million, a modest decrease from fiscal year 2024.

City Council will hold a public hearing on the municipal budget on May 6 and will vote on it the following Monday, May 13.

Net taxes levied – based on a combination of the school, town and the county budgets – are set to decrease 3.14% for Saco, according to Bohenko’s presentation. (The school and county budget processes happen separately but concurrently.)

County and school taxes are set to increase modestly, based on available estimates, but because the city tax decrease is over 11%, residents will see an overall decline.

Bohenko put the projected mil rate, the amount of tax paid per $1,000 value of property, at $14.05 for FY 2025 (down from $14.75 in the current fiscal year).


“Last year we had a statistical (reevaluation) and the median household price as a result of that was $515,000. Taking the $14.05 tax rate, we will see that people (who) have a median price home will have a reduction in taxes of $360. That’s a real reduction of $360,” said Bohenko.

Under this scheme, 85% of taxpayers will see a reduction in their property taxes, he said.

According to Bohenko, some 15% of taxpayers will be negatively impacted by the end of the Property Tax Stabilization Program, a popular program for people 65 and older which allowed residents who meet certain requirements to indefinitely freeze their property tax bill. The program was enacted by the State Legislature in 2022, but repealed in the summer of 2023.

The city was able to lower taxes thanks to $3 million in new revenue, which were fairly evenly distributed across multiple categories.

Money from the city’s fund balance (20%), state revenue sharing (17%), and a transfer from the Enterprise Fund (16%) constitute the biggest portions of the $3 million bump.

Bohenko’s proposal includes using $951,650 from the city’s unassigned fund balance, a larger amount than in previous years. The city manager’s budget proposal for FY 2024 used $334,359 from the city’s unassigned fund balance, and $350,000 for the year before that.


The city is projecting that it will have more in its unassigned fund balance – money that has not been assigned to other areas and not allocated towards other purposes in the general fund – than the city ordinance allows, according to  Salas. That means allocating the $951,650 would bring the unassigned fund balance closer to the permissible range, which is between 8.33% and 16.67% of the following year’s budget.

Using $951,650 for revenue would still put the total anticipated unassigned fund balance at 18.49% of the fiscal year 2025 budget. Salas said that there’s been a delay in receiving an audited unassigned fund balance, so the total unassigned fund balance for the coming fiscal year could still change.

On the spending front, overall expenditures — city, county and school combined — are expected to remain fairly level. Budgeted city expenses are set to decrease slightly in the coming fiscal year, by .65% or $262,921.

Bohenko is proposing four new staff positions, including two new EMS providers, a teen coordinator in the Parks and Recreation Department, and deputy city engineer in the Public Works Department.

The city administrator also approved a rooftop solar project for the Department of Public Works, which will be offset by direct payment tax credits through the Inflation Reduction Act, according to Salas. His budget also includes equipment purchases, money to stabilize the current equipment storage facility at Lund Road, and funding increases for the Dyer Library and Saco Museum, and BSOOB Transit.


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