Camden tax rate set, slight increase
Camden — Fewer than two dozen residents and town officials approved using $135,000 from the town's undesignated fund balance to lessen the impact of a property tax increase during a special town meeting Sept. 26.
Just 13 voters attended the meeting, with 11 voting in favor, along with selectmen, of using money from the "rainy day fund" to save taxpayers about 10 cents per thousand of valuation.
Town Manager Patricia Finnigan said taking $135,000 from the undesignated fund balance will put its total at about 15 percent of the town's annual budget, slightly less than the selectmen-recommended 16 percent. She said the fund currently has a balance of nearly $3 million, enough to operate the town for two months in a fiscal emergency.
The special town meeting lasted about 15 minutes.
Following the vote, selectmen addressed the budget overlay amount before setting the tax rate at $14.04 per thousand of valuation. The board settled on an overlay of $29,880, which is used to make up for any property tax abatements. Assessor's Agent Wesley Robinson said there "is always that extraordinary case" of large tax abatement but noted last years' abatement total was $880.
"Everything helps, I think we need to do what we can do [to lessen the tax increase]," Selectman John French said.
Selectman James Heard said he was concerned about payments for the $2 million Snow Bowl capital improvement bond — which will be on the ballot Nov. 5. Finnigan noted the town has several existing bonds that soon will be paid and the Snow Bowl bond will not be part of the budget, or impacting taxes, until next year.
Selectmen unanimously approved the overlay and tax rate. Richardson noted tax bills are expected to be mailed Oct. 1.
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Stephanie has served as editor of Camden Herald since its return in April 2012.
Previously, she was editor of VillageSoup's Capital Weekly in Augusta and has worked a number of years in the newspaper business from southern Maine to Waldo County.
Outside the office, she enjoys reading, cooking and gardening.
Stephanie lives in Washington with her husband Jeff, four children, a dog named Chewbacca, a rabbit and two chickens.