Proposed Bath budget down less than 1%, taxes up 2.5%

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BATH — Next year’s city budget could drop 0.83 percent, while overall taxes – including school and county assessments – could rise 2.48 percent.

The proposed fiscal year 2019 spending plan goes to a public hearing during the City Council’s meeting on Wednesday, May 16. The City Hall gathering begins at 6 p.m. The council will vote on the budget June 6.

The $15.9 million municipal budget is down about $133,000, thanks largely to no principal payment being made yet on a 2015 wastewater infrastructure improvement bond. About $120,000 in interest is to be paid, with the first principal-plus-interest payment of about $400,000 to be made in fiscal year 2020, Finance Director Juli Millett said May 4.

The $10.85 million general fund portion of the city budget is due to increase 1.53 percent, the result of small increases in salaries and benefits, which are offset by heat and insurance savings, Millett reported. The capital fund budget, about $873,00, is down 1.35 percent, while the $1.7 million landfill fund budget is down 4.58 percent, due to debt retirement.

The $2 million sewer budget is dropping 7.7 percent, due to the bond payment being delayed, Millett said.

Because the total budget decrease is in landfill and sewer funding, and fees primarily fund those expenses, overall city taxes are due to rise 0.75 percent, to reach nearly $9 million, Millett noted. Non-tax revenues are about flat.

Adding in Regional School Unit 1’s assessment to Bath ($10.4 million, up 1.79 percent), and the Sagadahoc County assessment ($1.7 million, down 0.07 percent), Bath’s total property taxes are due to reach $21.1 million – a 2.48 percent hike.

The result would be a tax increase of approximately $110 for a home valued at $200,000, according to Millett.

The city comprises 42.5 percent of Bath’s total tax allocation, while RSU 1 makes up 49.3 percent, and Sagadahoc County 8.2 percent.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.