Budget down by 5 percent

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Selectmen here have approved a municipal budget for next fiscal year that is 5 percent lower than the current budget.

The draft budget of just under $3.22 million anticipates a reduction in spending of $169,215.

That would lower the property tax mill rate from $13.40 to $13.29, provided the town’s assessment for public education, its county tax bill and property valuations remain unchanged.

Nearly every municipal department and other spending category would require slightly less money under the new budget. The only exceptions would be the police department budget, which would go up 1 percent, a 3 percent increase in allocations for community service agencies and a 5 percent hike in spending for professional development.

One staff position in the town office was eliminated this year, and that cost reduction is reflected in the new budget.

In addition to that, two factors related to employee benefits are a big part of the reason that the town will need less tax money next year. One is the recent decision by the board of selectmen to increase from 15 percent to 30 percent the amount that employees pay for their dependents to be covered by their health insurance plan. That change alone will save the town more than $33,000.

The projected savings to taxpayers is about $21,500.

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Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]