A first reading will be held this Monday, June 5 on the proposed fiscal year 2018 city budget – although how close that number will be to the actual budget is still unknown at this point.

According to City Manager Bill Mayo, the total city budget – including city, school, and county assessments – would be about $16.2 million. That would be an increase of about $500,000 from last year, according to Mayo, who said that would amount to a 6.6 percent increase. There are no single items that would cause the increase; rather it is scattered here and there in the budget, according to Mayo, who added the budget assumes that revenues will remain at about the same level as this year.

The budget, however, is missing some key components that make the final number a shifting target still. For one, it does not include the use of any reserve funds; most years, the council takes some such monies to help offset any budget increases. The council also could decide to make budget cuts that would reduce it further.

The bigger question, however, is what will happen with the state budget. In a repeat of 2013 and 2015, lawmakers have been slow to move forward on that budget this spring; until it is finalized, some numbers in the Old Town budget – and for communities across Maine – are a best guess. Final numbers for parts of budgets needed from the state by cities and towns include school subsidies and municipal revenue sharing.

A second reading of the budget currently is planned for June 19, Should the state budget work not be wrapped up by then, that reading would be postponed.

If there still is no resolution to the state budget by the end of June, when the current fiscal year expires, Mayo said the city would pass an interim budget if necessary.

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