Hallowell councilors plan to conduct the first reading of the upcoming municipal budget during Monday’s City Council meeting, according to the agenda posted on the city’s website.

City Manager Nate Rudy, who has been working with the Finance Committee, said a preliminary report to the council last month showed an increase of 2.92 percent, or about $172,000. He said there will be time to make adjustments that would maintain the current tax rate of $18.90 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

Rudy’s proposed budget would increase city spending from $5.87 million to $6.04 million for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

The biggest increase, as of now, is the addition of more than $100,000 to the fire services budget line. Last year the city budgeted $48,875 for fire services, but this year Rudy has proposed about $158,000. Funding the city’s part-time fire chief, the purchase of new self-contained breathing devices and costs associated with the construction and maintenance of a fire station contributed to the increase.

The city also budgeted for more than twice last year’s amount for legal services. The city retained Drummond Woodsum in Portland for legal counsel, and Rudy anticipates increased legal activity because of multiple expected real estate transactions around Hallowell, including deals related to the redevelopment of Stevens Commons and parking improvements in downtown Hallowell.

The proposed budget doesn’t include the money the city will contribute to Regional School Unit 2’s coffers. Last year, the city’s share of that was $2,848,865, but the city won’t know this year’s tally until after the school budget goes to voters in June. Superintendent Bill Zima told the council in April to expect an increase in Hallowell’s contribution.

The council also plans to discuss imposing new limits on parking on Water Street, Second Street and the connecting streets between them. The Parking Committee recommended earlier this year limiting parking to two hours between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

The council also will vote on whether to approve a memorandum of understanding signed by Stevens Commons developer Matt Morrill and the city of Hallowell to build a fire station at Stevens Commons where the Farwell Building is now. An anonymous donor pledged up to $1 million in March to build a station at Stevens Commons. The donor has imposed a June 20 deadline for the city to have a deal with a contractor to begin construction at the site.

In other business, Fire Chief Jim Owens will be available to answer questions about the department’s future. Augusta City Manager William Bridgeo has proposed a new automatic mutual aid agreement that would cost Hallowell $100,000 annually, though Rudy said the current budget doesn’t including funding support for that proposal. He wants the council to approve a clear course of action that he and city staff members will implement.

Other items on the agenda include a request for $5,500 in funding for an intern for Rudy for the summer from the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center’s summer internship program, a motion to approve a contract to begin repairs to the culvert near the end of Central Street in rural Hallowell, and the first reading of a proposed ordinance change, namely altering to the zoning map by rezoning three lots in rural Hallowell from the Business C District to the Rural Farm District.

Jason Pafundi — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @jasonpafundiKJ

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