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Washburn taxpayers approve $1.4 million municipal budget

WASHBURN, Maine — The town of Washburn shaved $40,000 off its municipal budget this year, but the final property tax rate will depend on the town’s share of county and school district expenses.

Washburn residents approved a $1.4 million municipal budget at the March 20 town meeting, said town manager Donna Turner.

That $1.4 million is down $40,000 from last year thanks to “a lot of little stuff that all added up,” Turner said.

“We just started cutting out a lot of stuff,” Turner said. “We had savings on insurance. There was savings on solid waste. There were a couple of loans we did at another bank and saved interest.”

That $40,000 savings comes even as one portion of the budget increased. The cost to operate the town’s police department, which residents voted last year to keep, increased $19,000 to $188,000, due to increases in health insurance and worker’s compensation, Turner said.

Seen here at the Washburn town office, Beverly Turner, left, recently switched from the job of town manager to town clerk, while Donna Turner, right, took the manager position. (Anthony Brino)

Washburn, along with the towns of Perham and Wade, are waiting on Maine School Administrative 45 for the next school year’s budget to find out what the impact on their taxes will be.

Brian Carpenter, superintendent of MSAD 45 and MSAD 1 in Presque Isle, said that the district is still working on crafting a budget proposal that will later go before voters. The district also is planning to host a public information meeting on the budget during the first week of May, with an exact date to be determined.

Washburn’s current tax rate is $31 per $1,000 of property value, and the town will be undertaking a property tax revaluation this summer, the first since 1991, Turner said.

She said Washburn also is waiting to learn how much money the town will owe the county government.

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