The public hearing kicks off a month of budget hearings and discussions.
LEWISTON – Local people can get their first crack at a proposed $37.5 million budget Thursday night.

City officials are scheduled to begin an intensive month of budget hearings and discussions at 7 p.m. Thursday with a public hearing on the proposed municipal budget. Councilors are tentatively scheduled to discuss budget matters each Tuesday and Thursday for the next month and should be ready to approve a spending plan at the May 18 council meeting.

City Administrator Jim Bennett presented the proposed budget in late March. It calls for a tax rate increase of 55 cents for each $1,000 of property value – about $43 more each year on an $85,000 home.

Sewer rates would also increase, by about 5 percent. That would mean about $12 more for sewer service each year for the average home.

In all, the budget calls for $1.97 million in new spending. About $624,000 is targeted to pay city debts. Another $505,000 in property tax revenue would pay for capital projects and about $55,000 is budgeted for legal services. The rest, about $786,000, would go to salaries, health insurance, liability insurance and unemployment insurance.

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