With the Regional School Unit 18 budget still pending, most of the five towns in the district have decided to send out property tax bills based on outdated versions of the budget.

Many of district’s taxpayers will pay a little more this year than the school will actually receive, so towns plan to set the money aside to defray next year’s school bill.

Typically, the district’s towns of Belgrade, China, Oakland, Rome and Sidney wait for a bill from the district before mailing tax bills to their residents.

In most years, the school budget is approved by voters in June, giving towns plenty of time to issue the bills before they become due.

This year, however, proposed budgets were rejected by voters in June and August, leaving the amount of the school assessments unknown. The first proposed budget was for $33 million; the district is now targeting a budget that is slightly less than $32 million.

Oakland is the only town in the district that plans to wait for the next version of the budget to come to voters on Oct. 2.

“We’re trying to avoid the scenario where people are late before they even get their bills,”  said Town Manager Peter Nielsen. “We’re also trying to bill people based on an actual amount, rather than an estimated amount.”

The town council will meet today to consider setting a special town meeting on Sept. 20, to reset the first and second quarterly due dates.

The first due date was originally Aug. 17, and has already been postponed once, to Sept. 14.

Nielsen said that a due date of Oct. 26 will be targeted next, and that both of the first two quarterly payments will be due on that date.

The remaining two quarters of the tax bills will be due on Jan. 11 and March 8, as originally scheduled.

Nielsen said that people who want to pay their estimated tax bill now, rather than waiting until October, can do so at the Town Office.

Belgrade, China and Sidney committed their taxes earlier this summer.

In China, taxes were committed during a selectmen’s meeting on Aug. 13, just days after the school budget failed for the second time.

China Town Office workers said residents’ tax bills will be mailed this week, and taxes will be due on Sept. 30.

In Sidney, Sheila Thorne, the town’s administrative assistant, said that Sidney’s taxes were committed in July, and bills were mailed shortly thereafter.

If the final bill from the school district results in lowered assessments, as seems likely, the extra collected money will be applied to next year’s school bill, Thorne said.

In Belgrade, Town Office workers referred questions about excess money to the town manager, who was out of the office on business.

No one was available to answer questions in Rome’s Town Office, which was closed on Wednesday.
 

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