OAKLAND — The Town Council has approved a $5.9 million budget for 2021-22, reflecting a 5.18% increase to current spending.

The $5,872,481 budget is expected to leave property taxes unchanged.

The budget is scheduled to go before residents at the Town Meeting, set for May 4 at the Messalonskee High School Performing Arts Center, 131 Messalonskee High Drive.

Town Manager Gary Bowman of Oakland.

“Our budget, as written, does not include a tax increase,” Town Manager Gary Bowman said. “We haven’t gotten the final bills from Kennebec County and the school department, but I think there’s enough to cover it.”

Oakland property owners now pay a tax rate of $16.40 per $1,000 of assessed value, meaning the owner of a property valued at $150,000 would owe $2,460.

The biggest increases in expenditures for 2021-22 are for the assessor, rescue, recreation department, road improvements, transfer station and Fire Department.

Spending on insurance and general assistance are expected to decrease significantly, according to Bowman.

The Town Council approved the budget 5-0, following a lengthy budget-preparation process. The budget advisory committee approved the budget 11-0.

The spending plan includes $330,000 for proposed capital improvements, a 75.5% increase from 2020-21.

Oakland officials said they anticipate $2,928,310 in revenues for the coming year. The largest revenue source is taxes, anticipated to total more than $1.3 million.

Officials also said they expect to receive almost $867,000 in government funding, including state revenue sharing, reimbursement for a school resource officer and support for the local roads assistance program.

The town anticipated lower revenues than it received in 2020-21. Bowman said he stopped all spending, except on town services.

“We had no idea what was going to happen in the state of Maine,” Bowman said. “We basically shut it down. We’re moving forward. We’re going to make stuff happen.”

In other matters, councilors discussed the return of Oakland’s summer music series. The first concert is set for July 8.

Meantime, Oakfest, which offers three days of family entertainment, is on hold for this summer, but could happen — in some form — in the fall, according to town officials.

“We’re going to try and bring back some normalcy,” Bowman said, “but we’re going to do it smartly.”


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