Winslow Town Manager Ella Bowman’s 2024-25 budget proposal includes no change in the tax rate.  Contributed photo

WINSLOW — As officials start planning for the town’s next budget, Town Manager Ella Bowman said this week that residents should expect no increase in the tax rate.

Winslow’s proposed 2024-25 municipal budget sits at slightly more than $33 million, a roughly 7% increase over this year’s roughly $31 million budget. Ahead of a Town Council meeting Monday night, Bowman said she expected the budget increase would not affect taxpayers’ bills.

“The budget is the biggest part of my job,” she said. “This is a $33 million budget. There’s a lot of little parts and pieces to make it work and you can’t afford to make a mistake … As far as the budget for this year, as written, our budget won’t have a tax increase.”

Bowman said the budgetary increase is in large part the result of rising labor costs, lingering inflation and large infrastructure projects the town has taken on in recent years, such as the $8 million renovation of the Chafee Brook pump station.

“The cost of operations continues to go up everywhere,” she said.

The proposed budget includes an estimated mill rate of $15 per $1,000 of assessed value, the same as this year’s rate. It is the first budget Bowman has proposed in Winslow after being hired as the town’s top administrator in October 2023.


Hank Farrah, a financial consultant the town hired to assist with its annual audit, said during Monday’s council meeting that the town is in a relatively healthy financial state.

“You’ve got a steady cash flow, you’re getting quarterly payments for your taxes so that you don’t really have to be affected by that,” he said. “But what you have is a lot of one-time payments like for debt payments … You guys at least collect taxes four times a year, that’s better than a lot of communities.”

Residents raised concerns in September about rising tax bills fueled by a recent property revaluation. Just a few months later, rising tax bills helped contribute to the election of three new town councilors who campaigned on cutting taxes and shrinking the town’s budget.

Councilor Mike Joseph has previously said Winslow’s budget is inflated by unnecessary contracts and projects. Councilor Fran Hudson said before being elected that overspending in the municipal budget is “the biggest problem right now” in Winslow.

While serving as Oakland’s town manager before her move to Winslow, Bowman was able to balance the town’s budget without increasing residents’ tax bills in both 2022 and 2023. She said Monday that she was able to use her past experiences to balance Winslow’s budget.

“It’s the same process that I’ve used in the past in Oakland, and it worked over there,” she said. “We kept budgets flat for years, and that’s what I’m trying to bring to the table here. This is a bigger budget and it’s got a lot more cogs in it, but it’s still the same thing.”

Winslow is expected to finalize its municipal budget later this month, before discussions about the budget for Winslow Public Schools begin in April. Residents will vote on the budget in June.

The third portion of the property tax bill, the county assessment, is not yet known. Kennebec County officials are expected to complete their budget review and approval by the end of the month.

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