WATERVILLE — The Waterville City Council is scheduled to consider a final vote Tuesday to approve a proposed $44 million municipal and school budget for 2020-21 that would not increase the city’s property tax rate.

The council is also expected to consider accepting the final report of the city’s charter commission, which includes changes to the city charter proposed by the commission.

The council must also consider authorizing the city to hold a special election so voters can decide whether to approve the charter changes.

Tuesday’s meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at the Mid-Day Cafe at Mid-Maine Technical Center at Waterville Senior High School.

The public is allowed to attend in person, but people are asked to adhere to health and safety guidelines by social distancing, wearing face coverings and not exceeding a 50-person gathering limit. The meeting will also be livestreamed via a link on the city’s website — www.waterville-me.gov.

The council took a first vote July 21 to approve the proposed municipal and school budget, which reflects an increase from the current $42.8 million spending plan, but the city intends to use more surplus than it used last year, and revenues have increased, particularly on the school side of the budget.


The proposal would not increase the current property tax rate of $25.76 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. Under that rate, a property valued at $100,000 would be assessed $2,576 in taxes.

The city plans to use $500,000 from its surplus account in the proposed budget. Because the state homestead exemption is based on $25,000 worth of property valuation, or $5,000 more than last year, many residents will see reductions in their property taxes, according to City Manager Michael Roy. The city does not yet know how much it will receive in state revenue sharing.

The proposed municipal budget is $18.36 million, and the proposed school budget $25.2 million.

The proposed changes to the charter include a change to fill council vacancies by special election rather than by council appointment, requiring mayoral candidates to have lived in the city at least a year instead of three months, and requiring a two-thirds vote of the City Council to approve a budget, rather than the majority vote of four councilors now required.

The commission has been meeting since January to review the charter, which governs how the city operates, and determine what, if any, changes should be made, although there is no legal requirement changes be made.

The commission last month voted 8-2 to send the revisions to the council for review, with members Julian Payne and Cathy Weeks dissenting. Their minority report, as well as the report of the majority of commissioners, are available here.


Voters are asked every seven years, as required by the charter, whether a charter commission should be established to revise the charter or establish a new one. Residents in November 2019 voted 1,150 to 623 to establish the commission. They also elected charter commission members from each city ward, and the council appointed three members. Co-chairmen are Tom Nale Jr. and James Laliberty.

Most of the proposed changes involved fixing language referring to state statute and clarifying issues, according to Rien Finch, commission secretary. For example, three separate places in the charter address how the mayor, councilors and members of the Waterville Board of Education are inducted into office, and the commission proposes putting them all in one place.

Commissioners spent considerable time discussing a proposed change that would require the city finance director to provide the council monthly updates on the city budget, according to Finch. The commissioners’ work included talking with councilors about the requirement, he said.

Another change the commission proposes relates to those wanting to run for the Kennebec Water District board of trustees. Anyone seeking to run would have to be nominated at a party caucus, according to the proposed language. Currently, this is not required.

In other matters Tuesday, the council is expected to consider an amendment to the city’s traffic ordinance that would prohibit heavy trucks from parking at night on streets in the Residential-A and B zones.

The council is also expected to consider a final vote to amend the public safety ordinance and fee schedule. The change would allow the Fire Department to charge fees, in some cases, for inspections, project reviews and services related to fire prevention and anticipation of emergency response to specific hazards.


Also to be considered:

• A final vote on repairs to Two Cent Plaza at Head of Falls.

• Proposed changes to outdoor dining rules for this season that would allow outdoor dining to remain open until midnight. The outdoor dining extension within the city right-of-way, parking areas or parks would continue until snow removal operations begin, or Nov. 1, whichever comes first.

• A pipeline easement and right-0f-way agreement with Summit Natural Gas to serve 187 Main St., the address of  DK Nail Salon.

• Food and liquor licenses for Erica’s, 105 College Ave.

• A food license for Bolley’s Famous Franks, 96 College Ave.

• A secondhand license to Ally’s Place Thrift Store, 38 College Ave.

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