Gardiner city councilors will hear recommendations Wednesday night from city staff on how to close a nearly $600,000 shortfall in the upcoming budget.
The 7 p.m. meeting at City Hall will be the first time the city manager presents recommended cuts and expenditures to councilors.
Besides the upcoming budget, councilors are scheduled to discuss a proposal to build a skateboarding park, the results of a sewer overflow facility study and whether to approve a new union contract for staff members.
Last year, cuts to state aid left city councilors and staff scrambling to find $185,000 to keep property taxes flat for a second year in a row. The uncertainty this year is not whether taxes will rise but by how much.
City councilors were reluctant to raise taxes last year partly because it would have pushed the rate above $20 per $1,000 of assessed value. The current rate is $19.90 per $1,000 of assessed value.
The hope was that the city would see increased revenue through the restoration of some or all of the municipal revenue sharing cut by the state last year or through more development such as in Libby Hill Business Park.
In a presentation to city councilors in October, City Manager Scott Morelli said a 7.5 percent tax increase — $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed value — would be needed to close a budget shortfall of $540,000. That would mean a $220 tax increase for the median home, valued at roughly $146,000.
If all capital requests were funded and if last year’s cuts to the paving budget were restored, taxes would rise roughly $309 for the median home as a result of the budget that begins in July. The municipal budget approved last year totaled $5.17 million.
Morelli could not be reached for comment on Monday.
In other meeting news, the city’s Parks and Recreation Committee will present its recommendation to locate a temporary skateboard park in the dirt parking lot of the now-demolished O.C. Woodman Middle School on the corner of Pleasant and School streets. The committee initially recommended the paved rotary area at the south end of the Waterfront Park, but committee members changed their recommendation to the location of the former school.
The ultimate goal of the community effort led by skateboarding students and their parents is to build an outdoor recreation park, said Jack Fles, chairman of the parks committee. He said the group is looking to build the park with private funding.
Councilors will also hear from members of the Wastewater Advisory Board and representatives from a consulting engineer company about its study of the city’s pump station in the Waterfront Park.
The firm, Hoyle, Tanner & Associates Inc., which has a regional office in Winthrop, is recommending a combined sewer overflow tank with a projected cost of $3,544,000 to reduce sewer overflow into the Kennebec River.
Councilors will be asked to accept the firm’s report and move forward with issuing a request for proposals for the project.
City Council is also scheduled to consider:
â¢ A liquor license renewal for Alex Parkers Steakhouse.
â¢ A Gardiner Area High School application for a 5-kilometer road race.
â¢ An events permit for the Gardiner Farmers Market to operate in the Gardiner Common.
â¢ Recommendations from the Parks and Recreation Committee to reserve an area of the Waterfront Park for yoga classes and to reissue a request for proposals for food vendors to operate on the waterfront during the summer.