LEWISTON — Councilors on Tuesday settled on a budget that raises property taxes overall but cuts the city budget by $1.4 million and reduces the city’s share of the tax rate.

The proposed budget manages to increase Saturday hours at the Lewiston Solid Waste Facility and hires a $40,000 per year economic development specialist.

“Wow, we even managed to increase a service,” Councilor John Butler said.

“No, we expanded an existing service,” City Administrator Ed Barrett said.

Councilors are scheduled to vote on the proposed budget at their May 7 public hearing.

The latest draft of the budget would set the tax rate at $26.05 per $1,000 of property value, which is a $39 increase on the tax bill for a $150,000 home.


School services account for about a third of the proposed tax levy and the greatest share of the increase. The proposed school budget tax levy would increase by 7.2 percent, from $16.3 million in the current year to $17.5 million in the coming budget. Voters are scheduled to have their say on the school budget at the polls May 14.

The original budget councilors started with in March would have increased the tax rate by $1.15 per $1,000 of value for both the city and schools.

School officials reduced their operating expenses from a 7 percent increase to 5.4 percent increase.

Councilors pushed a handful of capital projects and purchases off of the city’s General Fund spending plan and on to the fund balance last week.

On Tuesday, councilors signed off on $41,205 worth of cuts to the overtime budgets for multiple departments. That allowed them to let the landfill stay open three hours later this summer on a trial basis.

Councilor Mark Cayer said he wasn’t sure the change would help many residents but Councilor Nate Libby said it would.


“It gives you three more hours to work on a project before you have to stop and go to the dump,” Libby said.

Councilors also agreed to hire an economic development specialist to help Director Lincoln Jeffers. The specialist will help businesses with city and state rules, find economic aid and financing, help businesses find city sites for expansion and write tax benefits and incentives.

Jeffers said the department currently consists of himself, a grant writer and a part-time clerical assistant. By contrast, the city had eight people working on economic and community development when he came to the city in 2000.

“I think the city is best served by having me focusing on the higher-level issues, developing relationships and working with Augusta,” Jeffers said.

[email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: