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For 2022, town budget down 1.4%, taxes up 8.2%

By Sarah E. Reynolds | Apr 18, 2021
Source: Town of Islesboro Facebook page

Islesboro — Town officials worked to preserve the undesignated fund balance while also doing what they could to relieve the burden on taxpayers in crafting a municipal budget that is down by 1.4% percent from last year, according to Town Administrator Janet Anderson.

The town budget for fiscal year 2022, which begins July 1, is $3,965,309, down $56,809 from the 2021 figure of $4,022,118. The final budget hearing was held April 1, and residents will vote on the budget and other warrant articles, as well as choosing town officeholders, by secret ballot June 22.

Even though municipal expenditures are lower this year, Islesboro must raise more from property taxes. Unlike last year, Anderson said, Islesboro did not have the leeway to take $545,000 from undesignated funds. That figure is just $235,000 for the coming year, a reduction of 56.9%.

As a result, the total amount to be raised from property taxes increased from $3,073,517 for the current year to $3,326,919 for the coming year, a rise of $253,402, or 8.2%.

Overall, 2022 expenditures, including the town's share of county and school budgets, will be $6,572,899, an increase of $242,011, or 3.8%, from last year's $6,330,811. Town employees did not get a cost-of-living increase for 2022, the administrator said.

With the town still in the early planning stages for the expansion of the health center, the town subsidy for that facility rose $76,030, or 11.2% from $679,255 for 2021 to $755,285 for the upcoming year, Anderson said. The difference is largely accounted for by the hiring of a new medical assistant.

In addition, the town will begin its revaluation of property this year, she said, setting aside $60,000 for the purpose. The revaluation must be completed by April 1, 2024, and assessor Vern Ziegler estimates the total cost will be between $150,000 and $200,000, she said.

Under General Government, the subsidy for the municipal broadband network went from $147,088 for the current year to $164,701, a rise of $17,613, or 12%, because new subscribers were added. The cost to subscribers also went up $10 a year, from $360 to $370, Anderson said.

Also under General Government, $15,000 was allocated for substitute coverage, an increase of $10,000 or 200%, from last year's budget, because an employee went from 40 hours a week to 30 hours, and a new position was created, she explained.

Though none of the $400,000 budgeted for paving under Capital Reserves has been spent so far in 2021, the administrator hopes to spend the entire amount, "and I hope we can do this in May," she said. In addition, $100,000 is budgeted for paving under Public Works. No money was budgeted on that line for 2021, because of the large amount allocated under Capital Reserve.

Also under Public Works, the amount for snow removal went from $170,000 to $185,000, a difference of $15,000, or 8.8%. Anderson said when a new contract was signed to begin in fall 2021, the cost went up by $10,000 and she added another $5,000 to have the contractor mix the sand and salt.

In the same category, the replacement of upstairs windows in the Town Office will be completed in 2022, she said, with $15,000 budgeted, a decrease of $15,000, or 100%, from the $30,000 budgeted for the project in the current year.

Under Recreation, the budget for equipment repairs went from $1,500 for 2021 to $5,000 for the upcoming year, a jump of $3,500, or 233%. Anderson explained that the portion of the building between the museum and the tower was to be reshingled, and some inside painting done.

Also under Recreation, the line for maintenance of harbor facilities doubled from $5,000 to $10,000 because "the Harbor Committee plans on doing more maintenance," she said.

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