The Westbrook City Council Monday rubber stamped with no discussion its second reading and final approval of a $95 million combined municipal and school budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. It raises taxes 10.8%.

Councilor Jennifer Munro moved the item that was seconded by Councilor Claude Rwaganje.

Then, this week’s second reading easily passed with a 5-2 vote identical to the first reading April 29 with councilors Victor Chau and Gary Rairdon opposed. No one from the public spoke up.

The budget raises the tax rate from $16.68 to $18.48 per thousand dollars of assessed valuation, representing a $1.80 hike. So, taxes on a property valued at $400,000 would increase $720 over this year.

The board also approved the school budget 6-1, with Rairdon dissenting. The $51.7 million school budget, up $4.5 million, or 9.62%, from the current $47.1 million, now goes to voters in a budget validation referendum on Election Day June 11. Rairdon encouraged residents to cast their ballots and said absentee ballots would be available next week.

If residents reject the school budget, it would return to the City Council to be modified.


The school portion of the tax rate to support education rises $1.45 from $9.24 to $10.69, a 15.7% increase.

Rairdon described the school budget as “very significant” and “unsustainable.”

Before the board voted, Rairdon said he hopes to have a better “look at this budget” and something a little more reasonable. “Now is the time to pump our brakes,” he said.

In addition to school costs, the combined city expenses include $35.7 million for municipal operations; tax increment financing, $5.6 million; and the Cumberland County tax, $1.95 million. It adds up to Westbrook property owners collectively paying $54.1 million in taxes.

Taxes are due in four installments – Aug. 15 and Nov. 15 this fall and Feb. 18 and May 15 of next year. Delinquent payments will be assessed with 8.5% interest beginning the day after payments are due.

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