WATERVILLE — City councilors on Tuesday will consider approving a proposed $37.7 million municipal and school budget for 2013-14.

The meeting will be preceded by an executive session at 6:45 p.m. to hear an update on union negotiations with Fire Department employees.

The proposed municipal budget is $17.4 million; the proposed school budget, $20 million, plus $308,118 for adult education.

City Manager Michael Roy said Monday that if the budget were to be passed as is, the tax rate would increase from $25.65 per $1,000 worth of assessed property to $27.95 — a 9 percent increase.

In other words, someone who has $100,000 worth of property and paid $2,565 in taxes would pay $2,795, or a $230 increase.

Roy said he thinks the proposed budget will not be the final one.

“I believe the council will make changes to reduce that mil rate increase,” Roy said.

The council likely will take only one vote on the proposed budget Tuesday; two more votes will be required after that.

Still unknown is whether state revenue sharing will be temporarily suspended.

“That’s a very big question mark and could throw our entire budget planning into a tailspin if the state decides to reduce our revenue sharing over the current amount,” Roy said.

The city received $1.6 million in revenue sharing for the current budget, he said.

Also unknown is how much funding schools will get from the state and whether schools will have to fund part of teacher retirement costs.

City officials had hoped to reduce the proposed budget by $271,000 in money they feel the city should not have had to pay the Waterville Sewerage District in stormwater fees, but Roy said that money was put back into the proposed municipal budget. The city is requesting that the district perform a rate study, he said.

“The current status of that dispute with the sewer district is we’re agreeing to pay the fee for this coming year with the hope that they will perform the rate study,” Roy said, “and we will have the opportunity during that study to challenge the validity of the fee — or to better understand why that fee should legitimately come to us.”

Otherwise, the proposed municipal budget is very flat, he said.

“I think in the end, the council will seriously look at (using) more surplus than I have proposed,” Roy said. “I proposed $1 million, which is $500,000 less than last year.”

In other matters, the council will consider authorizing Roy to work with Shredding on Site on Armory Road to develop a new site for recycling.

Councilors two weeks ago voted to postpone voting on the matter after Jim Dunning, assistant general manager of Pine Tree Waste Services, said his company could offer single-stream recycling.

Resident Stu Silverstein urged councilors to restart curbside recycling, saying the city would save money in the long run because the solid waste stream would be reduced.

Amy Calder — 861-9247
[email protected]

 

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