When Gardiner elected officials meet Wednesday, they will consider a spending plan that’s expected to cut tax bills for many Gardiner taxpayers while also including pay raises for Gardiner city employees.

The proposed fiscal year 2018 budget was released March 1. The proposed operating budget of $5,016,608 reflects a 5 percent increase over the current year. The city’s capital budget at $676,267 reflects nearly a 44 percent decrease in spending, Combined, they total a $5,692,875 spending plan proposed for the year.

Gardiner’s share of tax rate is now $21.50 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. The proposed spending plan would put the tax rate at $21.95 per $1,000 of assessed valuation; even so, nearly half of Gardiner’s homeowners would get a property tax reduction in the municipal portion of their tax bills. Assessments from Kennebec County and School Administrative District 11 aren’t yet final.

When the budget was distributed in March, then-City Manager Scott Morelli noted that state revenue sharing amounts were not finalized. On Tuesday, Gardiner Finance Director Denise Brown said the current proposal for revenue sharing shows a $16,000 increase to the city’s general fund.

Most department budgets have increased about 2 percent over the current budget, but there are some notable exceptions.

Gardiner Public Library’s budget request shows a 5.2 increase, which includes funding for DVD purchases to replace VHS tapes, for streaming services and two additional public computers. It also reflects savings from a reorganization of staff.

The buildings and grounds budget shows a 9.9 percent decrease and the highway budget shows a 16.2 percent decrease. In both cases, those changes reflect one-time spending in the current budget that’s not going to be repeated in the upcoming budget. The proposed public works budgets include expected increases in electric rates, new equipment and replenishing the city’s road salt supply.

The Technology Department is projected to decrease by 13.2 percent, which also reflects one-time spending for a server in the current year’s budget. It includes funding for tabletop microphones for meetings held in City Council chambers and $30,000 to pay for a broadband internet study.

City councilors also will review the Tax Increment Finance Districts at Libby Hill and in downtown Gardiner.

City elected officials have spent time at three meetings reviewing the proposed spending plan by department. At Wednesday’s meeting elected officials might vote to amend portions of the budget if they choose.

The budget discussion is expected to continue at the council’s May 3 meeting. The first reading of the budget and a public hearing is scheduled for May 17. A public hearing and the second and final reading of the budget is scheduled for June 7.

Gardiner elected officials are also expected to:

• Hold a public hearing on storm water assessment findings,

• Consider meeting minutes,

• Consider special event permits for the Gardiner Farmer’s Market and the Gardiner Music Walk,

• Hear the quarterly financial update,

• Hold a public hearing and consider a first read on two general obligation bonds,

• Hold a public hearing and consider a first read on extending the moratorium on commercial marijuana enterprises, and

• Consider a request to apply for a ConnectME Authority broadband planning grant.

The council is expected to meet at 5 p.m., in an executive session to discuss the city manager search and applicants. It’s closed to the public.

The regular meeting is expected to start at 6 p.m.

The council meets in the council chamber in City Hall at 6 Church St.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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