BATH — The City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved a $15.6 million budget for fiscal 2017.
The panel also unanimously voted a second and final time to borrow up to $1.9 million for vehicles, equipment and infrastructure improvements. The bond issue received preliminary approval May 18.
The council, which approved the budget without discussion as part of its consent agenda, held a public hearing on the spending plan May 18.
General fund operating expenses continue to rise, while non-tax revenues have stayed flat, according to Finance Director Juli Millett.
Funding landfill environmental projects from tax increment financing revenue, and paying for sewer capital through a new voter-approved sewer bond, has produced a reduction in next year’s budget of about $361,000 from current spending, she added.
City taxes – offset by proceeds from the city’s sale of the Huse School and new tax value in Bath – are projected to increase 1.11 percent, to reach $8.6 million. Professional and fire hydrant fees, as well as insurances and fire training, contributed to the hike, according to Millett.
Including $1.7 million in Sagadahoc County taxes (down 0.12 percent) and $9.7 million in Regional School Unit 1 taxes (up 1.66 percent), the city’s projected tax total is nearly $20 million, an increase of 2.66 percent.
A home valued at $200,000 would see a $110 increase, although residents benefiting from a new Homestead exemption, reducing their primary home’s value by $5,000, could actually see savings of $108, Millett explained.
The City Council on May 18 unanimously granted first passage to borrow up to $1.9 million for a police vehicle, a cemetery truck, a leaf vacuum, the Zorach Fountain and Library Park pond, and the Riverwalk. The expenses total $2.3 million; the $415,000 down payment on the bond was included in the fiscal 2017 budget.