By Diana Bowley of the BDN Staff: DEXTER, Maine — Most Dexter property taxpayers will see no increase in their tax bills for 2009-10 as the Town Council voted Thursday to keep the current mill rate of $14.50 per $1,000 property valuation.
It took much work to keep the same mill rate in the wake of declining revenues and higher fixed costs, according to Town Manager Dave Pearson. “I’m real proud we’ve been able to do this,” he told the council.
“We basically put together a tight budget,” Pearson said. He praised the council and town employees for working hard to keep spending down. No wage increases are proposed, and almost every department except public works and the Fire Department had smaller expenditures than in the past year, he said.
The spending plan of $7,987,218 adopted Thursday includes about $3.2 million for airport improvements that will be reimbursed through the stimulus program. If those funds were not included in the budget, the appropriations would represent about $200,000 less than last year’s budget, Pearson said. The town expects fewer revenues this year and has budgeted $4,727,830, which includes the airport improvement funds, according to Pearson.
The budget includes funds for a plow truck, improvements for the Fire Department’s furnace, sidewalk improvements and about $150,000 to rebuild Jennings Hill Road, Pearson said. The road work will be done later because tons of fill are being trucked over the road from an Abbot pit to the airport for the runway expansion project, he said.
A lengthy discussion was held during a public hearing on the condition of a Main Street home that was the scene of a fire more than a year ago. The council had been prepared to act on declaring the building dangerous based on complaints from neighbors. The owner, however, presented the council with a detailed plan and sketches of what he intended to do to renovate the old home. He said he already had removed the barn from the property.
The homeowner had retained an inspector and his report also convinced the Town Council to drop the action. The inspector said the building was sound but said a portion of an ell needed to be removed.
“I don’t think we have an issue with it, and if we do, we need to be looking at other places in town,” Councilor Sherman Leighton said.