Budget roundup: Gray proposes 7 percent boost

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Here is an update on local municipal and school budgets as the Lakes Region communities work on developing final budgets.

Gray

Town Manager Deb Cabana has completed her proposed budget, and the Town Council has suggested some changes, although it has not yet completed its review process.

The proposed budget currently stands at about $4.4 million, an increase of 7 percent, or about $290,000, over this year’s budget.

Gray Finance Director Katy Jewell said the increase is mainly due to capital improvements and an increase in the cost of health insurance resulting from the town’s number of claims.

Jewell said the impact on the tax rate has not yet been calculated: “We don’t have nearly enough information. We don’t have the county or school figures yet.” The tax rate is currently $14 per $1,000 of taxable assessed value.

There will be a public hearing on the budget on April 16, and residents will vote on the final budget at the polls on June 11.

Sebago

Sebago’s proposed budget is complete and will go to the voters for approval on May 14.

Town Manager Michele Bukoveckas said the total budget is about $2.7 million, which is an increase of about $271,000, or about 11 percent, over this year’s budget.

“A good chunk of that is due to the fact that we’re going to be buying some SCBA equipment for the fire department and purchasing a tank truck for the fire department,” she said.

She said the town will use money from the undesignated fund balance to help offset that increase.

Bukoveckas said the tax rate is unsure at this point, but she estimated that it will increase by approximately 15 cents or more. The current tax rate is $13.15 per $1,000 of taxable assessed value.

Residents will vote on the municipal budget at the annual town meeting on May 14 at 6:30 p.m.

SAD 6

The superintendent’s proposed budget for 2020 is about $49.8 million, an increase of nearly $250,000, or 0.5 percent, over this year’s budget.

Superintendent Paul Penna said “75 percent of our budget is staffing,” so the increase is due to “new contracts that we’ve negotiated with personnel and just recurring costs for staffing and benefits.”

The budget will be presented to the School Board in a few weeks.

Standish residents will vote on the school budget via referendum on June 11.

SAD 61

SAD 61’s proposed budget currently stands at about $30.5 million, which represents an increase of 2.6 percent, or nearly $820,000, over this year’s budget.

Breaking it down by municipality, Superintendent Al Smith said Bridgton will incur an additional $368,000 cost, Casco will contribute an additional $176,000 and Naples will pay for an additional $275,000.

The increase, Smith said, is mainly due to the district’s fixed costs.

“We have added a few new positions. But it’s primarily just our fixed costs: salaries, benefits and heat and lights,” he said.

The school board voted April 1 to move the proposed budget forward, and Smith will present it to each town’s selectboard next week.

There will be a district budget meeting May 7 at 6:30 p.m. at Lake Region High School for residents to discuss the budget and voice their concerns. Residents of Bridgton, Casco and Naples will vote on the school budget via referendum on May 21.

Jane Vaughan can be reached at 780-9103 or at jvaughan@keepmecurrent.com.