WINTHROP — Town councilors on Monday approved municipal and school budgets for the upcoming fiscal year that will increase spending by more than $1.2 million, but taxpayers are not expected to feel the pinch.

Council Chairwoman Sarah Fuller assured the roughly 30 people who gathered for Monday’s public hearings that the proposed budgets would have no impact on property taxes. That is a dramatic shift from councilors’ concern last month when they warned residents could face a hefty tax hike due to increased spending.

But after that meeting town Finance Director Melody Main re-examined all the numbers, including revenue from the state, and determined the budget would require a mill rate of $15.28, or $1,528 for a home valued at $100,000, which is identical to the current rate, said Town Manager Jeff Woolston. The town auditor has since affirmed Main’s analysis.

Councilors had projected the rate could increase to nearly $16.28, which would add another $100 in property taxes to that same home.

“The last meeting we were looking at a tax increase,” Fuller said. “Now we are not. We recalculated the revenue.”

Total spending in the municipal budget will increase about $600,000 to more than $6 million despite the fact that councilors entered the meeting having already shaved $400,000 from the initial budget proposal. Those cuts were in the area of capital improvement projects, including a new firetruck and heavy equipment for the public works department.


Spending in the school budget, meanwhile, will increase about $600,000 to $10.8 million, but that will translate into just a $59,000 increase in property taxes thanks to an additional $400,000 the schools will receive from the state due in large part to increased enrollments, said Superintendent Gary Rosenthal.

“It’s basically a neutral budget,” he said. “We were just very blessed. This is one of those years when the alignment was perfect.”

The budget includes spending on key programs, including gifted and talented for kindergarten through 12th grade and foreign language at the elementary and middle schools.

“We’re really excited about where we’re going,” Rosenthal said.

Unlike the municipal budget, which is now finalized with the council’s approval, the school budget faces one more hurdle. That will come on June 9 when voters will enter the ballot box to ratify or reject the budget.

“I hope folks come out and support the budget,” Rosenthal said. “It took a lot of work to get here.”

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @CraigCrosby4

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