LISBON — The Town Council voted to use undesignated funds to reduce this year’s tax bills during a special meeting Wednesday evening, giving property owners some relief after a town assessment raised property values.

While the action lowers the mill rate it does not necessarily mean people’s property tax bills will go down this year compared to last year’s tax bills, Finance Director Samantha Bryant said in an interview after the meeting. Last year’s mill rate was about 23. Councilors approved a mill rate earlier this year of 22.23 but using the approved undesignated funds will further reduce that to 21.3.

The town had savings worth more than 16% of its budget in the undesignated fund, which is a higher rate than what is legally required, she said. A town ordinance dictates the town must have funds amounting to between 12% and 16% of its budget set aside in undesignated funds. Councilors made sure that funds amounting to 14% of the town’s budget remain in the undesignated fund account.

Councilors approved spending $800,000 to offset the mill rate, about $500,000 toward its employee wage study, $61,000 for a new Public Works truck, along with about $123,000 for other town initiatives. All of it will come out of the undesignated funds account.

Bryant first approached councilors at the special meeting proposing to offset the town’s mill rate by half a mill, using $400,000 from the undesignated funds account — half of what was ultimately approved by councilors. She proposed that amount to avoid a situation in which tax rates might “seesaw” too much, she said at the meeting.

“I just don’t want to bring it down and everyone gets super excited about that and then we go down too low and then it, like, slingshots on us,” she said.

Some councilors supported the proposed half mill reduction but others felt officials should cut it down further to a whole mill. Councilors who spoke agreed that tax increases should be stable and somewhat predictable so property owners are not experiencing large increases in their tax bill each year. All seven councilors voted in favor of reducing the mill rate by one mill.

In other business, William Meakin was chosen to be the Library Department’s new director, coming out ahead of two other applicants who vied for the job, Town Manager Glenn Michalowski said. It was first announced on the library’s Facebook page before the Wednesday meeting.

Meakin, also known as Mr. Bill, was hired as the children’s librarian eight years ago. He served in that capacity until he was chosen to be the interim director in June when longtime Director Diane Nadeau retired after 36 years of working for the town.

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