Topsham selectmen send budget, tax hike to voters

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TOPSHAM — The Board of Selectmen on April 9 unanimously approved next month’s Town Meeting warrant, which includes the components making up the fiscal 2016 municipal budget.

Residents will vote on the proposed $9 million spending plan, up 5.7 percent from this year, at Town Meeting Wednesday, May 20.

Topsham’s current tax rate is $17.33 per $1,000 of property valuation. The town budget would add 63 cents, while a Sagadahoc County tax would add another 7 cents, and a School Administrative District 75 tax would add 76 cents, for a total increase of $1.46.

For a home valued at $300,000, that would mean a $438 annual property tax hike.

Those numbers are based on unapproved expenditures, and assumed valuation increases and levels of outside funding, Town Manager Rich Roedner said Tuesday.

Other warrant articles include adoption of ordinances, including one that would adjust the boundary of the town’s Industrial Zone to give it road frontage. Another would create new zoning district Residential 2 Business zone in the area across from Center Park Road on Route 196.

Voters will also decide whether to amend one of Topsham’s municipal tax increment financing districts.

The town in 2004 adopted the first one in and around the area of Topsham Fair Mall. The amendment would in part extend the life of that TIF, and allow funds from it to fund improvements to Topsham Fair Mall Road, Roedner said.

The amendment would also add a “portage” provision to the TIF language, giving  the town the ability, if needed, to use funds from the TIF district to fund expenses in Topsham’s downtown TIF district, Roedner said.

“We’re trying to … maximize our flexibility to spend money on things that the town would have to spend money eventually on, anyway,” he said.

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.