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Budget may allow Fort Fairfield to reduce mill rate

FORT FAIRFIELD, Maine — The Fort Fairfield Town Council has adopted a 2018-2019 budget that leaves the town in a good position, according to Town Manager Jim Risner.

With a surplus from last year and a decrease in the school district budget, Fort Fairfield’s 2018-2018 budget will likely rule out any property tax increase for this year, Risner said.

Although the tax rate won’t be set until September, after a financial audit this summer, Risner said he may recommend a slight decrease to the town’s mill rate.

“I am 85 percent confident I can do that,” Risner said.

Fort Fairfield’s current mill rate is $25.7 per $1,000 of property value. Last year, property taxes increased by almost five percent due to an increase in the school district’s budget, following two years of a flat tax rate. .

This year, Risner said, the town has an approximately $124,000 surplus from last year’s budget and the Maine School Administrative District 20 $2 million budget came in 6.2 percent lower than last year.

The town’s budget, adopted by councilors during their June 20 meeting, totals $5.1 million, including county taxes and the $2 million school budget.

Risner said the Town Council also has continued to put funds into the town’s reserve account, which now stands at about $640,000, in an effort to prepare for building and vehicle maintenance and other costs and projects that can arise.

“Instead of waiting until the year we have to do it, we start putting money aside each year.”

Risner also said that town employees have been instrumental in saving money and contributing to the budget surplus.

“Town staff are trying to stretch the dollars as much as we can.”

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