MECHANIC FALLS — The Town Council and the Budget Committee on Monday agreed that a “hold-the-line” spending plan for 2016-17 should decrease property tax bills slightly, if the school budget holds steady.

The two panels deferred the Fire Department’s request to purchase an infrared camera. That took another $5,500 from the $2.4 million budget and brings the amount to be raised from property taxes to $1.55 million.

That amount is $21,000 less than was raised for the current year, but fell far short of what Councilor Wayne Hackett wanted to see.

Hackett would like to have seen a cut more in the $75,000 range.

“So when someone gets their tax bill they’ll say, ‘Holy smoke, somebody out there is really working for me,’” Hackett said.

Budget Committee member Bonnie Payette agreed that a decrease of that order would be desirable but realistically, it would be difficult to achieve in the near term.


Budget Committee member Ollie Emery pointed to the difference between Mechanic Falls’ tax rate and those in Minot and Poland in the $15 per thousand of property valuation range. Mechanic Falls’ rate is over $20 per thousand.

“If you were looking to build a house or a business, where would you look to go?” Emery asked.

Town Manager Koriene Low said Regional School Unit 16 Superintendent Tina Meserve told her that any increase in the school budget would be relatively small this year.

Low said Meserve is estimating Mechanic Falls could see an increase of somewhere between $12,000 and $17,000 — not enough to wipe out the $21,000 reduction in the amount of property taxes that the Council and Budget Committee’s recommendations would achieve.

The $2.4 million budget will go to a public hearing April 28 and a referendum on June 14.

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