WATERVILLE — After an hour and a half of residents expressing concern over increases in their property tax bills for the upcoming year, city councilors voted to override Mayor Nick Isgro’s veto of the $38 million municipal and school budget.

Isgro vetoed the budget on July 6, the day after it was approved by councilors in a 4-2 vote. At Tuesday’s meeting, councilors voted 5-2 to override the veto.

More than 50 residents packed into the council chambers for the 7 p.m. meeting, with many urging councilors to postpone implementation of a recent city revaluation — which is driving many residential tax bills up — and sustain the mayor’s veto of the budget.

“All councilors who agree to this current budget are ignoring the will and the plight of the struggling residents on low and fixed incomes,” one resident said. “If you support this budget, are you prepared to meet the wrath of your constituents?”

With the new budget and the recently completed city revaluation, the tax rate decreased from $27.80 to $24.50 per $1,000 worth of assessed property value. While some people’s property taxes will decrease or stay the same, many will increase because of their new property values. Tax bills will be sent to property owners next month.

Councilor Sydney Mayhew, who voted against overriding the veto, said he has heard from many constituents who say they will not be able to afford living in Waterville with the results the new property assessment driving up their tax bills.


Although this is not a municipal tax increase, Mayhew said the increase in the property tax bills to residents is a direct “surprise attack on the middle class” that the city cannot sustain without seeing a mass exodus” of residents who can no longer afford to live here.

“If I had the authority, I would rip this new property revaluation up into a million pieces and burn it with satisfaction,” Mayhew said.

A couple of the individuals who spoke at the meeting said that their tax bills were slated to double under the new assessment.

Councilors Jackie Dupont, of Ward 7, Dana Bushee, of Ward 6, John O’Donnell, of Ward 5, Rosemary Winslow, of Ward 3, and Nathaniel White, of Ward 2, voted in favor of overriding the budget veto. Councilors Steve Soule, of Ward 1, and Sydney Mayhew, of Ward 4, voted to sustain Isgro’s veto.

In his veto message to the council, Isgro cited high tax burdens as his primary reason for rejecting the budget. He tasked councilors and city officials with reworking the budget to “bring it in line with those whom we serve.”

After the vote to override the veto, Isgro said to those in attendance, “You guys are stuck with your taxes.”


His comment was accompanied by those in attendance yelling at the councilors who voted in favor of the override to resign. Most of the crowd left immediately after the vote, and the councilors took up the remaining items on their agenda.

Before the meeting concluded shortly after 9 p.m., Isgro took to Twitter to express his dissatisfaction with the vote.

“Waterville council just told their constituency to blow off. Sick,” he said in a 8:57 p.m. tweet.

He took a direct shot at White for overriding the budget in a second tweet, writing that “Councilor White said his vote would be based on tonight’s hearings. He must have meant watching Councilor Winslow.”

In his final tweet from the meeting, Isgro applauded Soule and Mayhew for having “guts” by voting to sustain the veto, adding that their constituents thank them for trying.

It is the second year in a row in which Isgro has vetoed the budget the day after its passage by the City Council. Last year he vetoed the $37.4 million budget because he disagreed with putting an unexpected $58,000 in revenue into surplus.


In other business, councilors approved adopting an ordinance regulating medical marijuana facilities, repealing the city’s former ordinance. Councilors also voted to accept a contract for solid waste disposal from Waste Management for the city’s disposal of municipal solid waste.

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252


Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate

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