WATERVILLE — The City Council on Tuesday will consider taking a final vote to approve a proposed $42.7 million municipal and school budget for 2019-20, as well as a first vote to approve borrowing $5.5 million for capital projects.

The special council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the Chace Community Forum at the Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons at 150 Main St. downtown.

The municipal and school budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year was $41 million. Councilors last week took a first vote to approve the proposed $42.7 million municipal and school budget for 2019-2020 after voting 4-3 to cut $113,000 from the initially proposed $42.8 million budget.

The city and schools would share the cut equally, with each trimming $56,500. Councilors Erik Thomas, D-Ward 7; Winifred Tate, D-Ward 6; and Meg Smith, D-Ward 3, opposed cutting the funds. The first vote on the budget as amended was 6-1, with Thomas the lone dissenter.

If approved, the budget would increase the current tax rate of $25.27 per $1,000 worth of valuation by 49 cents, to $25.76 per $1,000. A person with a home valued at $100,000, for instance, would pay $2,576 in taxes with the new tax rate.

Superintendent Eric Haley said Monday that the Waterville Board of Education met at 7:30 a.m. Monday and voted 6-0 to cut $62,700 from the proposed school budget by eliminating a proposed wellness teacher position that would have served both Waterville Senior High School and its alternative school.

To make the $56,500 cut as requested by the council, the high school, Waterville Junior High, Albert S. Hall School and George J. Mitchell school would instead each be given $1,550 toward helping to fund contracted services with Kennebec Behavioral Health for children with social-emotional needs, as part of the vote.

Haley said he recommended  the board cut the proposed wellness teacher and add the funds for behavioral health. School Board member Elizabeth Bickford was absent from Monday’s meeting.

The proposed school budget for 2019-20 is now $24.9 million, an increase from the $23.9 million budget approved for 2018-19, according to Haley. The major increase is reflected mostly in contracted salary increases. The board must take one more vote to finalize the school budget and is expected to do so July 22, according to Haley. He said the board takes its final budget vote after the council finalizes the municipal and school budget.

Gov. Janet Mills signed an $8 billion budget package June 17 that includes $111 million for kindergarten-through-grade 12 education and $75 million in revenue sharing.  Haley said Monday that Waterville schools will receive $15.3 million in state revenues, which represents an increase from the $14.7 million schools received for 2018-19.

The council last week voted 7-0 to put $70,000 from the sale of a property on Airport Road toward the city’s 2019-2020 revenue, which allows for the tax rate increase of only 49 cents.

The proposed municipal budget is $17.8 million.

The council will also consider taking the first of two votes needed to approve borrowing $5.5 million for capital projects, including:
• $2 million for public works equipment and road construction
• $336,000 for parks and recreation
• $1.56 million to replace the fire department’s tower truck and buy a chief command vehicle
• $100,000 for the police department
• $600,000 for streetlights
• $100,000 for a firearms training range for the police department
• $810,000 for the Waterville Public Library

Proposed library projects include replacing the floor, for $250,000; window replacement, $155,000; furniture replacement, $115,000; north ramp project, $60,000; historic wood restoration, $10,000; copper roof turret, $100,000; collections security gate, $20,000; and Colby Room exterior door, $10,000.

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