WINSLOW — The Town Council gave preliminary approval this week to a municipal budget of $31 million that represents a $1.9 million increase, or 6.7%, to current spending.

The increase could bring with it a property tax increase of about $1.35 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

Among the drivers of the increase are various inflationary pressures, such as the increasing cost of utilities and maintenance and cost-of-living adjustments to employee wages and benefits, Town Manager Erica LaCroix told the council Monday.

The Kennebec County tax rate is expected to increase by 6%, she said.

One of the primary drivers of the Winslow budget was an $800,000 increase in capital expenditures. LaCroix said those expenditures, which total $1.5 million this year, account for 40.5% of the total budget increase.

“The big difference here is that the FY23 budget relied very heavily on (federal American Rescue Plan Act) funding, which was over $700,000, and on unanticipated excess revenues from FY22,” LaCroix said. “We don’t have any of those monies. They’re gone.”


The Department of Public Works is expected to be responsible for some of the biggest projects using capital funds this year. Director Paul Fongemie requested $1 million worth of capital projects, including $800,000 to repave 4.5 miles of town roads, and $100,000 to replace storm drains, particularly on Cushman Road.

Town officials said they expect an increase in revenue of $544,000 from last year, bringing the overall revenue stream to $15.3 million. The gain is attributable to increases in state revenue sharing, sewer fees, school revenues and ambulance transports, LaCroix said.

The town, therefore, has to raise $15.7 million through taxation. Barring significant adjustments, the final property tax rate will be $22.56 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

“That looks big, but it’s really where we should have been getting to a long time ago,” LaCroix said. “This should be the last year we need to play catch-up on all the holes we’ve left in the budget in the past. This budget reflects the true cost of doing business, without having any artificial shore-ups from other sources of money.”

LaCroix said a townwide revaluation, scheduled to conclude this summer, might result in the property tax rate being slightly lower in August than the current projection.

Jerry Quirion was the lone town councilor to vote against the budget. He attempted to introduce a motion to cut the budget by $100,000, but did not specify where cuts could be made. He failed to gain support for the motion.

Councilor Ray Caron approved the budget, but expressed trepidation with the property tax increase. He said if a similar increase is proposed next year, the town should look to cut services.

School Superintendent Peter Thiboutot also presented his budget Monday. The school budget request totals $8.9 million, a 4.4% increase to current spending. Thiboutot said the School Board cut $470,000 from the budget to come in at that total.

Thiboutot said the increase is driven by increases in salaries and benefits, and by utility and maintenance contracts.

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