ELLSWORTH — The City Council gave final approval to a municipal budget for the coming fiscal year Thursday night.
That approval came only after councilors voiced their frustration, however, with the role school costs play in calculating the size of the city’s tax bills.
Councilors were scheduled to sign off on the budget earlier in the month, but held off on doing so then because of lingering uncertainty at that time about how the state budget might affect the city.
Thursday’s approval came on the heels of the Legislature’s vote to override Governor Paul LePage’s veto of the state budget.
The city budget has a bottom line of $10,048,552, up $151,464 (1.53 percent) over last year. That bottom line is lower than the $10.4 million figure that was first presented to councilors at the beginning of the budget season.
The city also will be required to contribute slightly more than $10 million to the Regional School Unit 24 (RSU 24) budget in the coming year, an increase of 3.75 percent over last year’s school assessment.
Returning to a common theme from this year’s budget season, councilors noted the city’s budget has grown only slightly compared to the school system’s budget.
In the past three years, the city’s budget has seen an overall increase of 1.66 percent. In that same time, what the city pays for the school budget has shot up 25.48 percent overall.
“So I would suggest that if anybody complains about the taxes going up that we ask them to stop by the superintendent’s office,” said Council Chairman Gary Fortier.