Milo selectmen set 2017 mill rate at $31.25

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MILO — After tabling a decision at their regular meeting on the first Tuesday evening of the month, the selectmen set the 2017 tax commitment during a July 18 session. The 2017 mill rate — in Milo the town’s fiscal year follows the calendar year from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 — will be $31.25 per $1,000 in assessed property, a decrease of 25 cents from the 2016 rate of $31.50.

Town Clerk Betty Gormley had explained that town officials usually commit taxes during the first week of July. At the time a state government shutdown was looming and Maine Revenue Services Supervisor of Municipal Services Mike Rogers recommended towns wait several weeks before releasing tax bills, as there could have been changes to the Homestead Exemption and a delay would prevent communities from having to send out a second round of tax bills.

“I’m hoping you will approve it and tomorrow I can start the paperwork,” Gormley said, with the state government shutdown ending after only a few days earlier in the month. She said a rate of $31.25 would cover town expenses and provide adequate overlay funds.

When asked, Gormley said a mill rate needs to be approved so tax bills can be sent out even though a final school budget has not yet been approved.

In late June a proposed 2017-18 $8.5 million SAD 41 school budget was voted down across the four district communities by a count of 270 to 68 — the tallies were 111 “no” votes to 41 “yes” votes in Milo. The share for Milo would have been $1,169,517, nearly $135,300 more than the previous academic year.

On the evening of Tuesday, July 25 the SAD 41 school board was scheduled to meet to give its approval to a revised SAD 41 budget which would include $263,000 in additional state subsidy to reduce the tax committment of the four member towns.

The agenda had 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 2 at the Penquis Valley School as the time and date for the informational meeting/district budget meeting. A budget total approved on Aug. 2 would then go to a referendum on Thursday, Aug. 10 in Milo, Atkinson, Brownville and LaGrange — if formally approved by the school board.

In other business, Town Manager Damien Pickel said he would meeting with representatives of the railroad, Ransom Consulting Engineers and Scientists Senior Project Manager and Environmental Engineer Peter Scherr, and Piscataquis County Economic Development Council Executive Director Chris Winstead to discuss surveying work needed to subdivide the town-owned Derby Shops property into three lots.

“We have to get that subdivision done before we can apply for the brownfields grant,” Pickel said, as these monies can be used to clean up the site. The town manager had previously said converting the railroad parcel into three lots can enable the community to maximize grant funds.

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