Dexter council tables decision on 2019 budget to next month

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DEXTER — Following questions on the mill rate for a proposed 2018-19 net municipal budget of $4,566,286, the Dexter Town Council opted to table a decision on enacting the spending plan until next month during a July 12 meeting.

The total town budget for 2018-19 is $5,790,649, an increase of $115,377 from the current year with the community’s $1.9 million-plus share of the SAD 46 spending plan and about $305,000 in the Penobscot County tax included. After $1,224,363 in revenues have been factored in (this amount is down by $55,526), there is a net figure of $4,566,286. The net budget represents a $170,903 increase (just over 3.7 percent).

When asked, the councilors were informed the 2018-19 budget would likely result in a $0.7 increase to the mill rate. Last year the council approved a mill rate not to exceed $20.5.

Councilor Peter Haskell wondered if monies could be used from the general fund — which stands at around $1.3 million — to keep the mill rate increase around $0.5.

“No one wants a tax increase but one way or another we have got to pay for this stuff,” Councilor Chair Michael Blake said, mentioning there will be various upcoming projects to fund.

“I’m not in favor of taking out of the general fund, it’s just kicking the can down the road,” Councilor Chuck Ellms said.

Councilor Marcia Delaware wondered about the possibility if $50,000 could be taken out of the general fund and then go back if not used.

With the assessor still working, the council should have more information to use in determining the 2018-19 mill rate and the group then passed a motion to table a budget decision until August.

In other business, Blake introduced forthcoming Town Manager Trampas King.

“He’s going to start in August, we had a lot of qualified applicants,” the council chair said about King. Blake said King, who resides in Dexter, has experience as a grant writer. King has also been chair of the Dexter Utility District Trustees and served on the board for the Mid Maine Solid Waste Association.

King will succeed Jim Chandler who left to take a similar job in Hampden during the spring after seven months as Dexter’s town manager.

“We are looking forward to having Tramp come on board and see what he can do,” Blake said at the end of the meeting.

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