OLD ORCHARD BEACH – Town Manager Diana Asanza is projecting a 5.6% increase to the municipal operating budget and a proposed .63% decrease in the mil rate, according to budget documents shared with the Biddeford Courier by town staff.

However, the tax assessor’s office is still undertaking property value assessments for the town, meaning the mil rate could change.

According to Assessor Karen Fortier, the town is still tallying all the real estate sales that have taken place in Old Orchard Beach between April 2023 and April 2024.

The total of these sales impacts the town’s total taxable valuation, which is crucial for determining the mil rate, or the amount of property tax that homeowners pay per $1,000 of property value.

The mil rate is estimated to drop from $11.40 to $11.33 under Asanza’s proposal, per documents shared by staff.

In addition to adjustments to the town’s taxable valuation, the mil rate could change because the school budget and county budget also factor into the total tax levy. The county and school budget are worked out during separate but concurrent processes.


During April and May, various town departments will present budget requests to Town Council. The Town Council will vote to adopt the final FY 2025 budget on June 4, in time for the start of the coming fiscal year on July 1.

Within the gross municipal operating budget – a total of $23.5 million for FY 2025 per Asanza’s proposal – wages and benefits (which make up 57% of the operating budget) are set to increase 8.5%, to $13.5 million.

“This increase is a result of settling the Fire and Police Department contracts this fiscal year, and the non-union (cost of living adjustment) increases … (as well as) bringing seasonal police reserves, Fire Department per diem, and lifeguard employees in line with the current market,” Asanza said when she presented the budget to the Town Council on April 1.

Asanza said there will also be an increase in personnel needed for the upcoming elections in 2024, causing a bump in election wages.

Money for social services is set to increase 10.2%, for a total of $1.1 million. One driver for this budget category is a funding increase of 5%, or $20,300, for Libby Memorial Library. Asanza is also budgeting a $50,000 increase – or 20% – for the General Assistance program, which Asanza said has seen an uptick in applicants. All municipalities in Maine administer a General Assistance program – with financial help from the state – which allows people to apply for financial assistance in situations when they do not have enough money to cover the basics, like rent, food, and medication.

Under Asanza’s proposal, utilities would decrease 1%, to $1.2 million.

In contrast to the past few years, the overall capital improvement budget is set to decrease 2.4% this coming year under Asanza’s budget. The total for FY 2025 comes out to $3.14 million. Between FY 2020 and 2024, the capital improvement budget rose steadily each year (jumping a total of roughly $1.5 million over that time period). The town has a number of capital projects currently in the works, such as a wastewater treatment plant upgrade, road improvements, and upgrades for the West Grand Avenue public restroom facility.

Besides what the town brings in from property taxes, non-property tax revenue is increasing 5.7%, to $7.4 million. “General government” (which constitutes a total of $4.3 million in Asanza’s budget) is the largest chunk of the non-property tax revenue, a category that includes motor vehicle excise taxes, investment income, state revenue sharing, homestead exemption, and interest on delinquent taxes.

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