AUBURN — Property taxes on a $150,000 home would rise $157.50, based on a draft budget presented to the City Council on Monday.

“This actually is an increase,” City Manager Clinton Deschene told councilors Monday during a workshop meeting. “We did not hide that. The city and the school amounts are being brought forward to you as an increase compared to prior years.”

Deschene made his draft 2014-15 budget public Monday, calling for $76.4 million in total spending between the city and the schools. That includes $38.6 million in school spending and $37.9 million for city departments.

That would push the tax rate up about $1.05 per $1,000 of property value and collect more than $41 million in property taxes. That would be the city’s highest property tax commitment since the city implemented a full property revaluation in 2006.

“This would be the first year since 2007 that we’ve exceeded the 2007 number,” Deschene said.

Councilors will begin working on their budget, meeting in a workshop next week and several times during the next month. Deschene said he expects councilors to schedule a public hearing on the budget May 5. He also would like to schedule a public discussion session before that public hearing, to let residents discuss the budget and ask questions.


Mayor Jonathan LaBonte said that would be important.

“I hope that everyone around this table will be ready to sharpen their pencils,”  LaBonte said. “I think that many minds can create more ideas then just the eight of us up here.”

The budget does delay some programs as it is, and Deschene said he cut $1.1 million from the department budget his staff requested. That includes eliminating several new positions in the Planning, City Clerk and Assessing departments.

Deschene said he’s proposing that the city wait at least one more year to upgrade the curbside recycling program. Councilors have been talking about replacing the twice monthly collections with a weekly, automated program.

“I know the council’s direction was to do it, but it’s $225,000 more,” Deschene said. “I recommended you a city budget that says ‘don’t do it,’ and wait for a time when there is more revenue to afford it. In the mean time, go to a drop off model that my vision says will increase the percentages of recycling and bring back spring cleanup.”

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