AUBURN — The City Council on Monday will conduct a final reading and vote on next year’s proposed $48.4 million municipal budget, an 8.6% increase over this year.

According to a city memo, the combined $106.9 million in proposed city, school and county spending for fiscal 2023 is an $11.5 million, or 12%, increase from this year.

Based on the city’s current assessment, the property tax rate is slated to rise by $1.17 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

The council voted 5-2 to approve the municipal budget during a first reading May 2. Councilors made a series of amendments prior to the vote, including the addition of $50,000 for the city’s legal fund, which officials said is in anticipation of increased expenses due to legal proceedings with Lewiston.

During public comment, former City Councilor Andy Titus said the city’s 9% increase in operating expenses was concerning. He said that while the city has done “a decent job” in limiting tax increases in recent years, “I don’t know if it’s runaway inflation being used as an excuse,” but “there should be a voice for the taxpayers here somewhere.”

Other last-minute additions included $129,000 to assist with a planned police department reorganization. Councilor Dana Staples was successful in adding $25,000 for street trees to planned work near the new Edward Little High School.

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Mayor Jason Levesque said Friday that he may make a motion Monday to add a small amount of money to the city’s marketing budget, which includes events.

In late April, the School Committee unanimously approved the $55.7 million school budget for next year, which represents a 15.3% increase from this year. A council memo states the bond payments for the new Edward Little High School are resulting in an increase in debt service of $5.3 million, accounting for 71.8% of the total budget increase of $7.3 million.

Next year’s county budget is $2.7 million, a 5.7% increase.

The council will also vote Monday to set the school budget validation referendum for Tuesday, June 14, as well as a final reading on a $7.3 million bond for next year’s Capital Improvement Plan.


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