BATH — With a show of hands, Regional School Unit 1 voters on Tuesday approved the line items in a proposed $29 million budget.
The Bath Middle School meeting, which drew 38 voters and took about 40 minutes, preceded a June 13 budget validation referendum, which will complete the fiscal 2018 budget approval process.
Polling will occur from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. at Bath Middle School, the Phippsburg Town Office, and Woolwich Central School, and from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. at Arrowsic Town Hall.
Speaking Wednesday on what he thought contributed to an apparently smooth budget process, which drew little public comment over the course of recent RSU 1 Board of Directors meetings, Superintendent Patrick Manuel said, “I think our board has worked hard to be transparent (and) responsible.
“There’s also been some continuity on our board, which I think helps with people trusting the process,” he added. “… We’ve never had a lot (of community participation), but we’ve usually had more … than we’ve had this year.”
RSU 1’s 2.9 percent spending increase could result in a 4.5 percent overall hike in the tax rate.
Next year’s spending is proposed to increase by $715,000. Of the total, $17.8 million could come from taxes – up about $664,000 from the current year.
The tax impact across RSU 1’s four communities is estimated at $10.1 million in Bath, up 3.7 percent; $544,000 in Arrowsic, up 7.2 percent; $3.1 million in Phippsburg, up 3.4 percent, and $4 million for Woolwich, up 4.2 percent.
The district’s Anthem Health Insurance rates, for which a 7 percent increase had originally been budgeted, came in at 5.5 percent, saving RSU 1 about $17,000.
RSU 1 expects to receive $9.4 million in state aid, up $74,000.
While almost every warrant article was decided by a show of hands, the state required one to be determined by written ballot: Article 15, asking whether RSU 1 should raise $3.5 million in additional local funds – exceeding the state’s Essential Programs and Services allocation by $2.9 million – passed, 37-1.
The Regional School Unit 1 district budget meeting, held Tuesday, May 30, at Bath Middle School, drew 38 voters from the four-community district.