PRESQUE ISLE – The city’s tax rate is not expected to be affected by the City Council’s approval of an $8.7 million budget for 2001.
Without much comment, councilors OK’d the spending plan Monday evening.
The budget will require raising $4.7 million from taxes, an increase from last year’s appropriation of $4.5 million.
However, the current tax rate is not expected to be affected, according to Tom Stevens, Presque Isle city manager.
Instead, the city valuation is expected to increase as result of growth experienced during the past year, Stevens said.
The spending plan increased from $8.2 million in 2000 as a result of higher fuel and insurance costs, according to the manager’s earlier budget message.
Included in the budget is $789,100 that is put into the five-year capital improvement program.
The tax rate will be set after Aroostook County’s tax is assessed, the amount needed for education has been calculated and the city has been evaluated in April, according to Stevens.
Toward the end of the budgeting process, the council took $5,000 from three city department accounts and about $15,000 from surplus to make sure the road-paving program was maintained. Because of the increased cost of paving material, which is petroleum-based, it costs about $20,000 more to complete the same amount of paving proposed in the budget.
“We didn’t want to fall behind in the paving program,” Stevens said.
Other reasons for the increases:
. Debt service on the public safety building under construction.
. A new position in the clerk’s office.
. Various capital projects.
Fuel costs for the city have increased by $118,900 compared with last year.
With the loss this month of Business Express, a carrier at the Northern Maine Regional Airport, the city is expecting less revenue. In fuel sales alone, the city expects a loss of about $25,000, according to Stevens.
The elevator at City Hall also needs to be replaced to meet standards effective next March. The estimated cost is $117,600.
Furnishing the public safety building when it is completed will cost $184,925. This year, $70,000 was appropriated, leaving a balance of $114,925.
Another expenditure involves replacement of the Gouldville Bridge on Park Street. The total has been estimated at $870,000, with the city’s share at $200,100. The state would pay for the remaining costs.
Already the city has committed $78,750 to the project from funds remaining from the widening of Main Street. According to Stevens, there is enough in the same account to cover the increased costs.
On the revenue side, excise taxes are expected to increase by $61,000 next year. In addition, the city is expecting $250,000 more in state municipal revenue-sharing funds.