PARIS — If voters approve the roughly $5.6 million budget at town meeting today, they can expect to see the tax rate decrease to lower than what it was two years ago, according to Paris Interim Town Manager Sawin Millett.

Town meeting action will get underway at 10 a.m. at the Paris Fire Station, 137 Western Ave.

The proposed fiscal 2017 budget has three major components — $3.23 million in municipal spending, $277,525 in Oxford County taxes and $2.87 million in school taxes for School Administrative District 17.

While municipal spending has been reduced by more than $500,000, the town’s portion to the county and school district have increased by $8,473 and $86,819, respectively.

“My assignment was to shave $500,000 off the municipal budget, and we did that and the combination of the two that grew means we’re not saving the full amount off the total tax rate,” Millett said.

If approved, the tax rate will drop by 1.1 mill, which Millett estimated to be between $17.20 and $17.30 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

“A reduction of 1.1 mills is not a bad accomplishment,” he said.

Together, selectmen, town administration and department heads have cut $505,788 from the current budget, which Millett estimated is a 7 percent reduction in municipal operations. They sharpened their pencils to do so shortly after the passage of the current budget last June because the mill rate, which had been anticipated to remain flat at $17.90 per $1,000 of assessed value, jumped to the current rate of $18.30.

In an effort to cut the pledged half a million dollars, eight departments and categories cut their existing budgets.

They include:

• Debt Service, $257,815, down $13,923; Budget Committee recommends $275,733;

• Paris Police, $514,131, down $92,809;

• Highway, $709,644, down $52,443;

• Parks and Recreation, $40,068, down $2,088;

• Social Services, $166,550, down $18,534;

• General Assistance, $20,644, down $7,000;

• Fire, $393,201, down $25,540; and

• Capital, $694,500, down $138,544.

Social Services is mostly funding for the Paris Public Library, which as a result of the lower budget, will see a reduction in five operating hours, 10 staffing hours and the loss of a part-time position, if approved.

Millett explained some of the budget reductions.

“We benefited by a declining debt service picture,” he said. “It will reduce debt service next year. We’re paying down our debts.”

On the other side of the coin, three departments saw increases for fiscal 2017:

• Administration, $458,362, up $5,291; Budget Committee recommends $384,224;

• Solid Waste, $275,886, up $4,740; and

• Unclassified, $462,895, up $15,724.

The increase in administration resulted from the town contribution to the state retirement system and health insurance increases. Solid Waste saw an increase in fees from Oxford County Recycling, Millett said.

Unclassified includes increased costs for workers’ compensation insurance, a $2,500 increase for cat care, a $2,000 increase in attorney fees and $2,100 increase for street and traffic lights.

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