SALEM TOWNSHIP — Voters in SAD 58 will have their annual budget meeting Tuesday night before the 2010-11 budget goes to five towns for approval on June 8.

At 6:30 p.m., at Mt. Abram High School, district taxpayers will review 14 articles in a state-mandated referendum. The $9.6 million budget is 5 percent less than the current year. Cuts reflect losses of close to $500,000 in state subsidies.

“The legislators and the governor certainly had a tough year, but they all went home bragging about how they didn’t raise taxes. What they did was take money away from the towns and the school districts,” Superintendent Quenten Clark said. “They can say they didn’t raise the income tax or the sales tax, but they did raise the property tax. It all starts on Wall Street. All the stuff that was going on last year has come home to roost in little school districts all over the country.”

Kingfield, Strong and Phillips taxpayers will pay a higher share than in past years. Since each town’s portion is based on its property values, the state’s share per pupil went down as those town valuations went up. Robert Worthley, Strong’s tax assessor, said the recent town-wide revaluation and an increase in selling prices gave Strong a larger percentage increase than other towns.

“The state provides us with property valuations in each town from a year ago, and those figures come from property sales two years ago, because that’s how long it takes them to catch up,” he said. “That’s the way the system works. Strong has a fiscal year that is six months off the school budget year, so even though we may have to pay about 1.5 mills, we can spread that out, paying 0.75 mills for the rest of this tax year and 0.75 mills for the first six months of our next tax year.”

Some years, Worthley noted, towns will pay more for their share of the district budget, and in other years, they will pay less.

“I think it all seems to even out,” he said.

Kingfield will pay $13,169 more; Phillips will pay $96,938 more; and Strong will pay $122,341 more. Conversely, Avon will pay $6,252 less, and Eustis will pay $232,997 less, because the state valuation of that town can’t go any higher.


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