News Feature

Originally published in Castine Patriot, May 24, 2018
Town budget up, school down in Castine

by Monique Labbe

The 2018-19 Castine municipal budget, as proposed, is up 2.5 percent, or just over $52,000 from last year’s budget, according to Finance Officer Karen Motycka.

One of the largest increases is a $5,000 jump in the Unclassifieds account, a sum alloted for Elm tree maintenance. The reason, said Motycka, is that 11 trees were lost to Dutch elm disease over the last year, and extra steps are being taken to preserve the elm trees that are left. The total amount budgeted in the Unclassifieds account is $47,400.

The Reserve Accounts budget is down $10,000 this year, due to a $10,000 decrease in the Public Works vehicle line. This year’s Reserve Accounts budget totals $42,500, down from $52,500 last year.

The total combined budget for 2018-19 is $2,165,924. Last year’s budget came in at $2,113,478.

“We worked really hard to keep the increase as low as possible,” said Motycka. “I think we achieved that.”

While the municipal budget increased marginally, the school budget decreased by just over $17,000, or .66 percent, according to school board member Temple Blackwood.

The 2018-19 school budget comes in at $1,459,436.

Blackwood noted that the number of Castine students attending high school will decrease during the next school year, which is one of the “major contributing factors” to the decrease in the budget. Selectman Colin Powell, whose children attend the Adams School, also noted that there was a bigger carry forward than in years past.

Last month, Union 93 Superintendent Mark Hurvitt also noted that the enrollment at the school is “basically flat,” and that the budget for next year is essentially a maintenance budget.

Community members will be tasked with voting on the budgets at town meeting, scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Saturday, June 2, at Emerson Hall.