OAKLAND — Residents are scheduled to vote on a $4.3 million annual budget Tuesday evening at the Town Meeting.

The budget is about $23,000 larger than last year’s spending plan, but the addition of new revenue means the municipal tax rate actually might dip slightly.

“I think the team did an extremely good job this year” at keeping the town’s expenses down, Town Manager Gary Bowman said.

The town’s budget does not, however, include Oakland’s share of the proposed $34.8 million budget for the RSU 18 school district, which is $1.1 million larger than it was last year.

The Town Meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center at Messalonskee High School. Residents will vote on a 19-article meeting warrant.

The municipal budget includes increases in health insurance as well as a 1 percent cost-of-living wage increase for the municipal staff.

The town also plans to spend $65,000 on a new mini-excavator for the Public Works Department and put $85,000 into a reserve account for the purchase of a fire engine to replace a vehicle that is at least 30 years old.

Those increases are balanced out by savings in heating and automotive fuel, Oakland Finance Director Doug Mather said. Oakland locked into a fuel contract with RSU 18 earlier this year, which will save $1 per gallon of diesel and gasoline and heating oil, Mather said.

New revenue from a Tax Increment Financing district, set up last year to capture increased value brought by the Summit Natural Gas pipeline, also will help the town’s bottom line. A TIF shelters increased tax revenue from county and eduction assessments when it results from development, but the town can use annual revenue generated for specific projects or accounts.

According to Mather, Oakland is expecting to receive about $41,000 in revenue from the gas TIF, which will be used to pay the town’s dues to the Kennebec Valley Council of Governments and partially fund the town’s code enforcement office. This is the first year Oakland is receiving TIF revenues.

Because of savings and revenue, the amount the town needs to raise from taxation is about $8,000 less than last year, which could reduce the tax rate by about 15 cents per $1,000 worth of property. The town’s tax rate is currently $14.75 per $1,000 valuation, the lowest among comparable full-service communities in central Maine, according to Mather.

Peter McGuire — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @PeteL_McGuire


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