SKOWHEGAN — Residents attending Town Meeting on Monday will be asked to approve a proposed $12 million spending budget, along with three amended town ordinances, a property purchase, an affordable-housing tax-increment financing plan and a land lease agreement.

The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Skowhegan Opera House, upstairs from the town offices on Water Street.

The proposed spending package of $12,085,410 is up about $753,000, or 6.6%, over the current budget approved by voters last year. The tax rate going into the meeting stands at $18.20 for every $1,000 of assessed property valuation, Town Manager Christine Almand said, adding there is no way to predict what the new tax rate will be with variables — including four union contracts, homestead exemption, revenue sharing and the state’s new minimum wage law — in place.

The tax rate was reduced last year from $20 for every $1,000 in property value largely because of state revenue from the Business Equipment Tax Exemption that resulted from increased value at the Sappi paper mill, Almand said.

Increases in the proposed budget come with a projected 9% hike in wages and benefits, a 10% increase in water rates and a 21% increase in proposed capital reserve accounts, an increase there of more than $280,000.

“The selectmen and Budget Committee would like to further fund our infrastructure — improve how we fund our infrastructure,” Almand said of the proposed increases in capital reserve accounts. “The major increase is an additional $100,000 toward roads and an additional $100,000 for the Fire Department in case some of their infrastructure fails — the building itself  — and we have to be prepared if the furnace has to be replaced.”


Big-ticket items to be voted on Monday night include $1,946,084 for general government, including the town manager’s office, insurance, code enforcement and economic development; $1,495,627 for the Police Department; and $860,345 for the Fire Department.

Other spending proposals include $479,551 for summer roads, $647,612 for winter roads and $242,000 for public works vehicle maintenance. There is a proposed $474,367 for parks and recreation and $1,735,439 for debt retirement.

In Article 49 of the town warrant, residents will be asked to choose a funding package to be taken from surplus, not to exceed $1,167,071, for different town departments. The Board of Selectmen recommends taking $20,000 for body cameras for police, $75,000 for town bridges, $500,000 to be used toward a new public safety building and $572,000 to reduce the tax commitment.

On the same article, the Budget Committee is recommending using $57,000 for body cameras, stun guns and a trailer for the Police Department; $75,000 for bridges; $500,000 for the public safety building; $24,000 for the ballfield complex; and $511,071 to reduce the tax commitment.

Skowhegan voters also will be asked to adopt the amended parades and processions ordinance; the amended special amusement ordinance, which would allow gratuity tipping for exotic dancers in town; and a proposed obscenity and adult entertainment ordinance.

Residents also will be asked to authorize the purchase of land at the corner of Main Street for not more than $15,000 to be used as part of a highway plan to widen the intersection with West Front Street and Waterville Road. Fire damaged an apartment house at that corner in February 2017, and the building ultimately was torn down. It had been the site of Locke Tavern, the oldest such business on the south side of Skowhegan.

There is also a question on the Town Meeting warrant asking for approval of a 10-year lease with Lily Pond Farm for the storage of sludge from the pollution control plant and the adoption of an affordable housing development district — classified as a tax increment financing district — with the Kennebec Valley Community Action Program on Mary Street.

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