MILLINOCKET – Property taxes will rise from $20.60 to $21.50 per $1,000 of valuation with bills due to go out next week, Town Manager Eugene Conlogue said.
The mill rate increase occurred to help pay the $15 million municipal and school budget the Town Council voted to approve in late May but also because of an additional depreciation of equipment at Katahdin Paper Co. LLC of about $6 million, which effectively lowered the overall town valuation, Conlogue said.
“We’re not happy that we would have a mill rate that would exceed 21. I’d prefer we did not have any increase, but many of our costs are fixed and we decided also to do a bit more project work,” he said. “We have tried very hard to contain costs.”
The town is battling inflation, contract-mandated salary increases among school and town government workers, and increased funding for a new gymnasium floor at Stearns High School and an increase of paving costs from $90,000 last year to $150,000 this year, he said.
Katahdin Paper and Specialty Minerals Inc. also received a tax increment financing [TIF] reimbursement of $1.94 million, with Katahdin Paper receiving almost all of the tax break, Conlogue said.
The council used $100,000 from the town’s undesignated fund account to cut about three-tenths from the mill rate, Conlogue said.
In May, the council majority approved the 2006-07 municipal and school budget, which – compared to the 2005-06 budget – increased about 1.32 percent, or $195,000, plus a last-minute net increase of $7,000 that the council added after much debate.
The net increase encompassed adding about $17,000 to convert two part-time positions into full time.
The town had a budget of $14.8 million in the 2005-06 fiscal year, which expired June 30.
Northern Data Systems, a private firm that handles the town’s tax bills, will be sending the bills out next week.