WATERVILLE — City councilors on Tuesday voted 4-2 to approve a proposed $38 million municipal and school budget for 2016-17 that decreases the tax rate by 24 cents, but because of the city’s revaluation, some people’s taxes will increase, some will decrease and some will stay the same.

With the approved budget, the tax rate decreases from $27.80 to $27.56 per $1,000 worth of valuation.

The vote was the second and final vote on the proposed budget. Councilors voted 5-2 June 21 to approve the proposal, which includes $30,000 for Waterville Main Street — funding that some councilors initially wanted to eliminate.

On Tuesday, Councilor Sydney Mayhew, R-Ward 4, recommended $10,000 be cut from the proposed budget to offset $10,000 of the $30,000 the city is funding Waterville Main Street.

Councilors gave City Manager Michael Roy discretion to find places in the budget to cut to make up that $10,000. The council then voted 4-2 to approve Mayhew’s amendment, but councilors Nathaniel White, D-Ward 2, and Jackie Dupont, D-Ward 7, voted against the amendment. Councilor Dana Bushee, D-Ward 6, was absent from the meeting.

Then Roy said the city learned last week that its bill to the county is $20,000 lower than the city budgeted and he proposed to use $10,000 of that $20,000 to offset the $10,000 Mayhew proposed. But Mayor Nick Isgro said he opposed doing that. He said when money is taken out of savings to fund something else, money should be cut elsewhere.

“This is a hard tax year,” he said.

Isgro said he spoke with the city assessor Tuesday and people in his (Isgro’s) neighborhood are going to see their taxes increase significantly. He said the city got $3 million in revenue sharing in 2008 and now it is getting only $1 million annually. The city borrowed $12 million from 2011 through 2014, creating debt, and the city must keep its surplus at 12 percent of the budget and it is barely making it, Isgro said.

“We’ve got to save every penny we can and we’ve got to do everything we can to lower the burden,” he said.

Isgro said he is angry about the tax situation.

“There’s a lot of people who can’t afford it — a lot of people — and we’ve got to show respect for those people, and we’ve got to hold the line,” he said.

Councilors voted 4-2 to approve the amended budget that contained the $10,000 cut, with Council Chairman John O’Donnell, D-Ward 5, and councilors White, Mayhew and Rosemary Winslow, D-Ward 3, voting to approve the proposal; and Councilor Steve Soule, D-Ward 1, and Dupont voting against it.

Isgro said after the meeting that he learned his taxes will increase by more than $1,000 with the revaluation and a woman contacted him earlier Tuesday to say her taxes are increasing $2,500 — by 50 percent. He said the city’s Board of Assessment review can consider appeals.

Isgro said he is not angry about the value of his home increasing because of the revaluation, because if he ever sold it he would want that extra value. What he is angry about, he said, is the city’s spending policies that increase the tax rate and create high tax bills.

Meanwhile, Roy said that starting July 11, taxpayers can contact Vision Government Solutions Inc. at www.vgsi.com/schedules or call 1-888-844-4300 to make appointments if they have questions about the revaluation of their properties.

“Now is the time to ask questions about what they received for potential new value,” he said.

Before the budget discussion, during the community notes section of the meeting, Maryanne Bernier, a member of the Waterville Board of Education, stood to say budget season is a difficult season in which officials have to make hard decisions.

“I’d just like to thank the City Council for all the work they’ve done on this budget,” she said. “It hasn’t been easy.”

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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