JACKMAN — Residents will be asked to approve an increase in the town budget as well as improvements to the local airport Thursday at the Town Meeting.
The proposed budget is $2,232,813, with $290,762 to be raised from taxes. That represents a roughly 14 percent increase in the amount to be raised from taxes, which was $254,607 for the current year, Town Manager Kathleen MacKenzie said.
“It’s unfortunate we had a couple of hits all in the same year, because the Board of Selectmen does try to maintain a flat budget,” she said.
The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at the SAD12 auditorium.
There are four main reasons for the roughly $36,000 tax increase. They include increased costs of sanding and salt, a change in the town contract with Moose River for plowing, additional money for the paving reserve and town employees’ additional health care costs.
Last year the Maine Department of Transportation built a storage shed for sand and salt and ended a contract with the town to exchange storage space for sanding and salting materials, MacKenzie said. The cost to the town is about $13,000, she said.
The town of Moose River also opted not to renew a contract with Jackman to plow its roads in the winter, a loss of about $23,000 in revenue, MacKenzie said.
The board also is asking residents to increase the amount of money put into the paving reserve account from $50,000 to $60,000 as a result of increased paving costs, she said.
Finally, the town also must pay an additional $11,000 for health insurance as a result of adding an employee to the coverage plan.
“Even though we’re up, there’s a reason why we’re up,” MacKenzie said.
The Newton Field Airport project will be funded by a $1.3 million in grant money from the Federal Aviation Administration, Maine DOT and Northern Border Regional Commission and will not require any taxpayer funds, MacKenzie said.
Construction is expected to take place this summer and will create paved taxi lanes to a new six-unit T-hangar, provide a prepared site for a future 60-foot-by-60-foot box hangar and install electrical and storm water infrastructure. It is expected to create temporary construction jobs as well as permanent jobs in the hotel and food service industries.
“The contracts are in place, and it’s just a matter of weather. We thought it was better to push the project off until this year rather than rush it,” said MacKenzie.
The total budget is up about 6 percent from the $2,105,536 approved for the current year.
The increase could raise property taxes by about 40 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, but the town still is waiting for school and county tax assessments to determine an overall rate, MacKenzie said.
In town elections, there are a number of open positions for which there are no candidates. There are two open seats on the Board of Selectmen and no candidates. In the race for the Jackman Utility District, three positions are open, but only one candidate is running. The school board race has three open positions but only one candidate.
Elections will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Rachel Ohm — 612-2368 email@example.com