MEXICO — The 2017-18 property tax rate is going up $1.50 to $28.5 per $1,000 of assessed property value.
The Board of Selectmen voted 4-0 at their meeting on Sept. 19 to approve the tax rate recommendation, made by Town Manager Jack Gaudet. The previous year, the tax rate went from $26 to $27 per thousand.
That action took place following the approval by citizens at a special town meeting to allocate $160,000 from the undesignated fund balance to reduce the 2017-18 tax commitment.
Gaudet said that if the tax rate were to remain at 27 mills, “we’ll be $131,000 in the hole.”
He said taking $160,000 from surplus will bring that account to the minimum of what the town needs to operate ($400,000).
Gaudet said the two main factors in the tax increase are the school budget and the Homestead Exemption, increasing from $15,000 to $20,000.
“That (Homestead Exemption) takes off $9 million of property tax value that the town could tax,” Gaudet said.
In other business, Gaudet said that earlier in the day, the Maine Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages & Lottery Operations held a hearing at the Mexico Town Office on a request for a liquor license renewal for Tommy Guns Pitstop.
Selectmen voted 5-0 on July 18 to deny the liquor license renewal.
Police Chief Roy Hodsdon said his department received 14 calls — more than during all of 2016 — from the town’s only bar and had made three arrests there so far this year.
Selectmen asked Gaudet to write a letter to the state licensing board explaining the issues and to include the documentation from the Police Department.
Clarence “Tommy” Tompkins, owner of the 45 Roxbury Road business, disputed many of those calls.
A liquor license can be withdrawn under seven conditions, Gaudet said. He said the town was looking at a breach of the disturbance of peace condition.
Gaudet said the bureau heard testimony and will now review and deliver a written decision to the town, which will be shared at an upcoming Board of Selectmen’s meeting.
Gaudet estimated that timeline to be around three weeks.
Slight rise for Mexico property tax rate