The town of Belgrade, whose selectpersons voted unanimously against the RSU 18 school budget because it contained surplus accounts and was predicted to increase property taxes, has raised its own tax mil rate and the property taxes upon which it is based.

In June, the town sent notes to all taxpayers increasing the mil rate to 11.8 based on “reassessments and a higher school budget.”

Despite the recent $1.8 million reduction in school spending, August tax bills raised the mil rate again, to 11.95, and moved the payment due date ahead one month.

A review of the Belgrade annual report shows the town had almost $1 million in unrestricted cash surpluses at the beginning of 2012 and almost $1 million in cash set aside for capital purchases.

A recent article quoted Belgrade leaders saying they would retain any surplus tax revenues generated by cuts to the school budget as additional cash reserves.

Frankly, I don’t know why the town of Belgrade needs more than $2 million in cash reserves when most Mainers are living paycheck-to-paycheck, and school teachers had to cut their salaries.

Doesn’t it seem a tad hypocritical for town officials to insist that the school adhere to standards that they themselves will not? If anyone should be able to save for a rainy day, it’s the hard-working taxpayers of Maine.

Carol Carothers

Belgrade

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