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Proposed Bath budget shows less than 2% increase

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Proposed Bath budget shows less than 2% increase

BATH — City Manager Bill Giroux on Wednesday rolled out a preliminary city budget for fiscal 2010 of $15.3 million.

That budget, which also includes sewer, general, capital and landfill fund expenditures, represents a nearly 16 percent decrease from fiscal 2009 spending. Taxes are proposed to total less than $8 million, an increase of 1.86 percent.

Giroux said Bath's share of the Regional School Unit 1 budget is expected to increase less than 0.5 percent, while its share of the county budget is down 5.45 percent. The total tax increase for Bath – including city, county and school numbers – should consequently remain less than 2 percent, he said.

The manager pointed out that much of the budget decrease is in capital funds; the city's operating revenues have decreased about $200,000, or 2.5 percent.

One new revenue source comes from the landfill fund, since Bath for the first time will be going to auction to sell carbon-offset credits. The city amasses those credits by burning methane gas emitted from its landfill before it enters the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, Giroux explained; organizations then buy those credits to offset their own emissions.

Giroux's proposed budget maintains all staff and services, following several cuts in recent years.

The manager mentioned several projects underway for next year, including sidewalk work at Washington and Webber streets and Water Street, as well as the repaving of several streets and the roundabout project at the intersection of State Road and Congress Avenue. Completion of the second phases of the Wing Farm business park and the historic train station are also on tap for 2010, as well as construction of a new hotel downtown.

"As difficult a time as it is, thanks to the good staff that we have here and the council's wisdom, we've got all these projects that are going to happen, and none of them ... rely on any property taxes," Giroux said.

Council meetings on the budget will occur this month. The budget will go to public hearing on Wednesday, May 27, followed by two passages by the City Council next month, the final planned for  Wednesday, June 24.

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net.