News Feature

Originally published in Castine Patriot, May 4, 2017
Castine municipal budget up .4 percent
School budget increases 2.6 percent

by Monique Labbe

Voters will weigh in on warrant articles totaling $3.58 million, including municipal and school items, during the 2017 town meeting scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Saturday, May 13.

One of the big ticket items in the municipal portion of the warrant is a recommendation of $522,294 for the public safety account. Of that money, $302,294 would come from taxation, with the rest coming from Maine Maritime Academy, municipal fees, boat excise tax, a lease from Dudley’s Refresher and the Bagaduce Ambulance Corps Trust Fund. This is a decrease of about $20,000 from last year.

The selectmen are also recommending voters raise and appropriate $460,419. A total of $361,881 would be used for roads and infrastructure, $68,086 for underground utilities. Emerson Hall would benefit from $30,452 of those funds. That account is down just under $2,500 from last year.

With the addition of a new director for the Castine Visitor Center, article 13 will ask voters for $10,000 Community and Economic Development, which is now in the hands of the Castine Merchants Association. The idea for that money is start-up, and that the position will be able to fund itself moving forward.

This year’s municipal budget totals $2,113,478, which is only $9,112, or .4 percent, higher than last year. While town valuation numbers will not be done until July, Finance Officer Karen Motyka said she expects the taxes to increase about 2.6 percent.

School budget up 2.6 percent

While the overall school budget is up $23,679, or 1.6 percent, the school board is also asking for $15,000 more in capital reserves this year from last, making the budget increase by 2.6 percent. The 2017-18 school budget totals $1,469,109.

There is also a substantial increase to the special education budget, up $18,837, due to having to contract out for speech pathology services.

Food service costs are also up about $15,000 this year, due to repair and maintenance work to the kitchen area.

Warrant articles: 56
Municipal Budget: $2,113,478
Increase: $9,112 (.4 percent)
School Budget: $1,469,109
Increase: $38,679 (2.6 percent)
Projected tax increase: 2.6 percent
Meeting date: 8:30 a.m. Sat., May 13 at Emerson Hall