City manager readjusts projected property tax increase

By Larry Di Giovanni | Jun 06, 2014
Photo by: Larry Di Giovanni Rockland City Hall is pictured on June 5.

Rockland — Acting City Manager Thomas Luttrell said June 5 that a small increase in city property taxes, a result of keeping a reference librarian position, will be less due to other offsets and savings.

The city will need to raise its property taxes by $1.55 for the average Rockland home valued at $185,000, he said. The city is set to approve its final $10.54 million, 2014-2015 general fund budget June 30.

Immediately following the June 4 budget meeting, Luttrell said property taxes would increase by $8.46 for that average home value.

However, the city's projected increase in health insurance premiums has dropped from 10 percent to 4 percent, Luttrell said. That allows the city to stay very close to its goal of having a zero-based budget.

The more substantial proposed increase in property taxes will be voted on Tuesday, June 10, at the Rockland Community Center, he said. That is when the Regional School Unit 13 referendum receives votes to validate — or invalidate — the school board action.

If the RSU 13 validation vote is approved by voters, the average homeowner in Rockland will see property taxes increase by $94.08, Luttrell said. Currently, the average Rockland homeowner with a home valued at $185,000 pays $3,600 per year in property tax.

That $94.08 breakdown is as follows:

  • A $94.52 increase in property taxes from RSU 13;
  • A $1.55 increase in property taxes from the city of Rockland;
  • And a decrease of $1.99 in property taxes from Knox County.

Luttrell said despite the city trying not to increase property taxes, it often gets the same amount of blame as the school district.

With the reference librarian position restored, the city's new projected general fund budget for the upcoming 2014-15 fiscal year is $10,547,851. Revenue from Tax Increment Financing is not included, he said.

Courier Publications reporter Larry Di Giovanni can be reached at 594-4401 x. 117, or by email at:

Comments (5)
Posted by: David E Myslabodski | Jun 07, 2014 20:40

Hi there MT



Downtown gets TIF & the rest of Rockland makes PUFF!



TIF is no more than  the newest Kool-Aid flavor being served to the average Rocklander.



Some people called it an "Historical Vote" when City Council decided not to waive fees to the Lobster Fest.  If you really want an HISTORIC VOTE just wait for June 10. The building at [Un]-Pleasant and Main is not the only one planned for this block. The first building overshadows the three small houses behind it. City Hall will not hesitate, at the request of a "neighbor" to bring back the Smell Police and ran Rock City out of biz. Rumors that the next property is already for sale. Who is left? Bricks; good luck fighting the developers, especially when City hall is favoring "development."



Remember Lyman-Morse original statement that the building was planned to assist idle workers? Four years have past and LM is fighting tooth and nail to have the building become a reality. Ever heard about the domino theory?



I just wonder how much information is not being shared with us, average Rocklanders . . .



Ever heard about the domino theory?


Posted by: Maggie Trout | Jun 07, 2014 16:36

Tax Increment Financing, (TIF) money.  The City plsn to give $30,000 additional dollars to Rockland Main Street.  A test for appropriate use of TIF money is whether or not a business would locate, or businesses would fail if TIF money was not used.  Main Street is not in need.  Contrast that with:  infrastructure, including roads, public works garage and equipment to maintain Main Street; the list goes on.  That money could also be used to hire an Economic Development assistant because training would be involved, and Economic Development is equated with downtown.  There are a lot of recent univeristy graduates out there who won't have starting salaries of $50,000 a year, unless they get into a union.


Residents believe that TIFs help them through increasing the tax base.  That has been successfully refuted, although, in theory, TIFs should.  California, I read, abandoned TIFs a while back, due to the uneveness of funds distribution. 


This particular $30,000 may be earmarked for something, without which Main Street would close shop.  (It did close shop at 9 AM Friday night, with few exceptions, despite it being First Friday, and there being many tourists in town.  Rock City ran out of food.)


Many residents - most residents - do not get to deduct the cost of living in Rockland when filing IRS returns.  Businesses do.  None of this discounts the value of business and a lively Main Street and downtown, whether or not it is viewed as offering something for everyone.  Businesses and developers take risks.  It would just be good that no one should have to risk living in Rockland without a six-figure income to support car repairs because the influx of people and trucks further damage the roads.



Posted by: russell g york | Jun 07, 2014 09:13

very very true mr mckusic< sr

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Jun 06, 2014 14:50

Yet there is a significant property tax increase. No matter where it comes from; school, county or city; it is a tax increase that many cannot afford. :(

Posted by: Nicole Jeanette Boutin | Jun 06, 2014 14:08

Good job Tom. Jim and I really appreciate your hard work on keeping this budget with no increase! Julie Raye

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Larry Di Giovanni
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Larry Di Giovanni, a veteran journalist with more than 20 years of experience, is returning to his daily reporting roots in order to cover the city of Rockland for The Courier-Gazette. Originally from Athens, Ohio, his family includes one son, Tony.

Di Giovanni has covered news beats ranging from the city of South Lake Tahoe, Calif., to the largest tribal government in the United States — the Navajo Nation. He has also worked as a writer in the public education and higher education fields. He's an animal enthusiast and loves dogs.

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