WINSLOW — Residents this year likely will see a property tax increase, the town manager told councilors this week.

The manager, Erica LaCroix, said she is finalizing the proposed municipal budget for the next fiscal year and told councilors Monday that, “We’re still looking overall at about a 1.6 mill increase.”

Preliminary numbers show the municipal budget growing by $1.8 million, or 9.4%.

A number of factors are driving that increase, LaCroix said. Among them are rising utility and energy costs, changes in wages and benefits for town employees, and increased fees from the Kennebec Sanitary Treatment District.

The town’s contract with the district is scheduled to increase by $58,000 this year because legislative changes in 2022 drove up the district’s sludge disposal costs.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty going into this budget,” LaCroix said, explaining that Winslow is losing a Somerset County contract for 911 dispatch services and will probably have to pay an estimated $163,000 a year to now contract with Waterville’s emergency communications center.


“There’s nobody else we could apply to,” Town Council Chairman Peter Drapeau said of the decision to contract with Waterville. “We have little to no choice.”

The budgets for Winslow public schools and Kennebec County are also set to increase “fairly significantly” this year, according to LaCroix. The town anticipates that the school budget will increase by around $555,000, but that figure has been cut down considerably since March, Superintendent Peter Thiboutot said Tuesday.

Fuel, electricity and various contracted services have increased the school’s budget this year, Thiboutot said in an email. He also said the state is rolling back “adjustments designed to support financial stability” in Maine schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The proposed Kennebec County budget would increase Winslow’s county obligation by $45,000.

One bright spot LaCroix mentioned Monday was that as a two-year, townwide property revaluation concludes this year, it is likely property valuations around town will go up, which limits the amount needed to raise the mill rate, she said.

One mill is equal to $1 in property tax levied per $1,000 of a property’s assessed value.

“This should be the last time we have to have a really big increase (in tax rate) on that scale,” LaCroix said. She said in future years, the tax rate increases should be “incremental” and align with rising costs only.

Last year’s budget included a tax increase of 90 cents, bringing the total millage rate to $22.10 per $1,000 in valuation.

A public hearing on the proposed municipal budget is scheduled for April 24 at the Winslow Public Library at 136 Halifax St.

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