The Fayette Board of Selectmen is slated to vote Monday on the warrant for Town Meeting following a final public hearing, which begins at 7 p.m. at Fayette Central School.

The warrant includes items that could raise the town’s property tax rate by $2.20 or more for each $1,000 in valuation.

The 2017-2018 property tax rate in the town is $16.50 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

Municipal officials said part of the increase is the result of a larger school budget, which is proposed at just over $2 million; the current year’s budget is $1.9 million.

“There are no buffers if new students move in,” said Elaine Wilcox, chairman of the Fayette School Committee. “We really kept it bare-bones as much as we could; the biggest part of our budget is tuition.”

For the past two years, money was taken from the undesignated fund balance to reduce the effect on taxpayers. However, none is recommended for use this year because $25,000 from that fund is earmarked to help pay for repairs to the Fayette Central School roof.

Superintendent Joseph Mattos said the district expects to receive $64,000 through insurance reimbursement to replace new shingles that deteriorated and failed, but more money is needed to complete the repairs.

Fayette operates its own elementary school and pays tuition for middle and high schoolers to attend schools in surrounding districts.

Mattos has budgeted $764,220 for regular tuition costs plus $142,575 for special education tuition costs. Each is up about $50,000 from the current year’s budget and the two together account for 45 percent of the entire school budget.

Next year’s enrollment is anticipated to be 81 students in pre-kindergarten through grade 5, with 35 students in middle school and 38 students in high school.

Figures from Mattos show that the district anticipates receiving $55,401 from the state to offset school costs, leaving almost the entire amount to be raised locally by taxation.

Under the state’s school funding formula, Fayette qualifies for a minimal amount because of its relative high property valuation and low number of students.

Mattos noted that the only increased costs for school programs were $4,660 for Gifted and Talented/Enrichment services for students and $4,000 increased technology services, both are provided under a contract with Regional School Unit 38, Maranacook Area Schools.

Another addition was a part-time educational technician for the pre-kindergarten program. “Once you get over eight students, you have to have another adult,” Mattos said.

Mattos said he anticipated putting detailed budget information on the Fayette schools website, at

The municipal budget is $1.166 million, which would be offset by just over $391,000 in revenue, according to figures provided by Town Manager Mark Robinson.

The municipal tab could be higher if voters approve two specific items on the warrant: moving forward with an update to the town’s 1997 Comprehensive Plan, which would require raising $22,000; and putting $66,000 in a Capital Improvement Fund “to start investing in a Rainy Day fund for town and school infrastructure and rolling stock needs,” Robinson said.

In an email sent prior to a public hearing on the budget, Robinson noted, “The Town has not funded capital equipment and building reserves adequately for years in an attempt to keep the tax rate increases modest.”

Robinson provided a breakdown of the proposed property tax increase, saying $1.60 would be for the school, 18 cents for the town, and an estimated 4 cents for the county tax.

The Budget Committee voted to support all but two aspects of the proposed warrant. While selectmen have proposed spending $5,000 for additional patrols by Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office deputies, the Budget Committee recommends spending $3,000. The current year’s budget called for spending $6,000 on the additional patrols.

The Budget Committee supported a Comprehensive Plan update but did not support the capital improvement plan, Robinson said.

Selectmen are expected to make their recommendations Monday night before finalizing the Town Meeting warrant.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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